How Obvious is the Artistic and the Musical Expertise of the Music Teacher? (2014)

Adri de Vugt
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Artistry is often regarded as one of the core aspects of music education. It is important, however, to realize that the concept of artistry has to be observed in many different contexts. When doing a modest research into this concept in the context of music teacher training, I became more and more aware of - on the one hand the ambiguity of the term and the ease of the use of it on the other hand. Many teacher-training programmes claim to develop the artistic and musical expertise of students on the basis of the idea that music teachers should be artists in the first place. By my research I have tried to understand why music teacher trainers and others are so convinced about the obviousness of the artistry and musical expertise of music teachers. After organizing a conference with the title "Craftsmanship and artistry" (EAS Conference 2012), I had the opportunity to compile a book on artistry in music education. When finding the authors for the book, we had in mind to find contributions from different perspectives. Ultimately the book did focus on three main areas: the concept of artistry, pupil's artistry and the artistry of music teachers. Besides editing the book with a colleague, I was a co-author of an article on the competencies of music teacher and did write and article on artistry. I offer critical remarks on the seemingly obvious idea that music teachers should be musicians. He argues that content knowledge and skills in themselves are probably not that important for teachers, emphasizing instead that musical knowledge and skills in a pedagogical context should be a priority for educators. A second topic I raise is the role of musical identity. The fact that many music teachers would like to see themselves as musicians or think they should be, may well be influenced by the way music teachers are educated and trained. The question of what the kinds of musical expertise we should expect from music teacher is related to the opinions we have on music and music education. Finally, I discuss the complex connotations of the terms ‘musical’ and ‘artistic’ and comes to the conclusion that we had better use them critically.
typeresearch exposition
keywordsteaching, artistry, musical identity, educators, Research by teachers of the Royal Conservatoire
last modified07/08/2014
share statuspublic
licenseAll rights reserved
published inKC Research Portal
portal issue2. Royal Conservatoire Investigations
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