I began on this Master’s study because music teachers have such a huge need for more tools to be available for developing their pupils’ inner hearing. Furthermore, I have noticed that the world around us is changing while instrumental education has remained the same for a long time. In my case, it was not just a question of pedagogic urgency; there was also a deeper level. During the twenty years of my career as a performing bassoonist, I have seen things change; things I did not understand as a musician and which I also noticed colleagues struggling with.
This Research – part of my Master’s course of study – has given me the chance to obtain more insight into a number of matters.
The Master’s study and the research linked to it have opened the door to a wide range of possibilities and follow-up steps for me to take. I now understand why I found a number of things difficult in classical music performance. As far as I am concerned that is closely related to the fact that I was trained to reproduce music from notation, whereas I think that making music is much more than merely reproducing something. Splendid masterworks have been composed throughout musical history and I can thoroughly enjoy them if I am given the chance to play them. However, for me, that is not the only way to make my musical voice heard. I also need to speak a living musical language with my pupils and colleague musicians. If self-expression is an important part of the new way of learning, then I think that it is essential I develop musical expression with my pupils in order to speak a living musical language.
It would be extremely interesting in a follow-up study to investigate how the language develops and then to see what is necessary to develop a living musical language – one in which you learn to listen, speak, read, write and interpret.
By doing this research I have come to understand how aspects from the Kodály philosophy and methodology can be integrated into instrumental education and I can see that this is enriching. It makes it possible to learn in terms of the whole, the general pedagogic principle based on experience-led learning. This is instrumental education with a holistic approach in which all layers of the learning process are involved: auditive, visual, cognitive and motor.
In order to add a number of aspects from the Kodály philosophy and methodology to instrumental education, it is necessary to work in groups. Group work and peer-to-peer learning are extremely exhilarating within instrumental education, which until now has always been organised according to the Master/Pupil principle. Group lessons in this new way are still in their infancy, therefore, but my research has shown that it is really interesting to look more closely at which aspects can be used to support instrumental collaboration in a group lesson.
My research has helped me to understand which skills I, as a teacher, need for working with groups, in addition to the Master/Pupil principle. Not only some of the aspects of the Kodály philosophy and methodology contribute to this, but also an insight into how group dynamics work and into my role as a teacher in that process. It would be interesting in a follow-up to investigate what is necessary in terms of training, so that more instrumentalists could work in this way.
Working with conservatory bassoon students also shows how important it is to use aspects of the Kodály philosophy and methodology during the methodology development in the instrumental beginners’ classes. If instrumentalists were able to develop themselves using a holistic approach at an earlier stage, it would be possible to go straight to a higher level during the professional studies.
The CMM weekend has shown that for a number of pupils, who have only been trained to reproduce music from the repertoire using notation, this is too big a step. It is important, during the weekly instrumental lessons, to introduce elements that require improvisation, as well as tackling material in auditive and other ways. One might think, for example, of playing from flashcards and being allowed to think up your own notes, use of rhythm language and solmisation, improvising within the framework of the classical repertoire together with the teacher or in a group, and experimenting on which sounds it is possible to get out of your instrument – sounds that are not normally used. As follow-up, it would be interesting to investigate how these elements could contribute to forms of education which call upon the active aspects of creativity and collaboration when producing something.
The CMM weekend also demonstrates that starting a workshop with aspects of the Kodály philosophy and methodology can enrich the active creative process that follows. It would also be very interesting in future to further investigate what would happen once workshop leaders have been trained to do this and how the active creative process would further develop in that case.
My study and research have given me many insights and a broad palette of tools which I can use to work in the profession in a more creative and innovative manner. However, I also think that in present-day circumstances, in which politics and policy are looking in all directions for innovative methods of education and in which music education is once more in the limelight, the time is now ripe for innovative forms within instrumental education. The further development of my research could contribute to these innovations.