A study of motivation through repertoire in intermediate cello students

Berry, Anne Irma (2007). A study of motivation through repertoire in intermediate cello students PhD Thesis, School of Music, The University of Queensland.

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Author Berry, Anne Irma
Thesis Title A study of motivation through repertoire in intermediate cello students
School, Centre or Institute School of Music
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Samantha Owens
Total pages 217
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subjects L
410101 Music
750201 The performing arts (incl. music, theatre and dance)
Abstract/Summary The decision to research motivation through repertoire in intermediate cellists arose from two different perceived areas of need. Firstly, it was found that there was a scarcity of availability and accessibility of Australian compositions for intermediate cellists. Secondly, the literature suggested that there was a need for the further research of intrinsic motivation in the field of instrumental pedagogy. A review of the literature found that research into intrinsic motivation in instrumental pedagogy was mostly related to the 'process' of developing and maintaining motivation. Of the research which examined the aspect of 'content' in the maintenance of intrinsic motivation, this was mostly related to 'student choice'. This study emerged as a way of providing information to composers and teachers about what aspects of repertoire may be motivational. It investigates intrinsic motivation by questioning students and their teachers about which aspects of music repertoire are most likely to inspire students to practice more and strive for excellence. A discussion of the philosophies of Bruner and Csikszentmihalyi is included to give meaning and context to 'intrinsic motivation' in instrumental pedagogy. Research was conducted through purpose-designed questionnaires distributed to cello teachers and their students in Queensland. Questionnaires for teachers and students were very similar although the student questionnaire was a little shorter. The questionnaires gathered information on the most frequently used general teaching repertoire, as well as teachersÂ’ experiences in teaching contemporary and Australian repertoire. Musical aspects investigated included style, emotional content, harmony, articulation, tempo (speed), tonality, and rhythm as well as cellistic techniques. This information was balanced with questions regarding the technical developmental requirements perceived necessary for intermediate students. In comparison with other motivators such as verbal encouragement, ensemble participation and preparation for performances and exams, repertoire was found to be a significant motivator for 'students' best work'. Students' preference for challenging music, or by contrast, beautiful music was a persistent theme throughout the results. The three characteristics which were nominated as most motivating by both teachers and students were fast and lively, from the Romantic period and for cello and piano. The strongest difference between results for teachers and students was on the characteristic of folk feel which produced opposite results for the two groups of respondents. Some differences were also found within the respondent groups on the basis of gender and age. It is noted that students acknowledged the benefits of learning more advanced aspects of technique, such as thumb position, in expanding the pool of repertoire which they would be able to play. It was confirmed that Australian repertoire was not often taught to students at this level and that this was, at least in part, because of a lack of availability. Suggestions have been made for both composers and teachers in choosing techniques and repertoire for intermediate students. However, the importance of asking students about their preferences is borne out by the volume and detail of students' individual responses. Also, by questioning their students, teachers are likely to be stimulating the valued development of 'metacognitive strategies' in adolescent students.

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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 15:37:22 EST