The subject of historical development covers a very broad field of related topics, all put into a historical perspective. (See the chapter on content)
The goal of my research however was not so much to characterize the knowledge that concerns contexts of instrumental or vocal studies itself, but rather the role it plays and the way it functions.
While thinking about the professional knowledge that very skilled performers and teachers are hoping to transmit to the students, I became interested in it’s components and effect.
For instance what could be said in terms of quantity. How much must one know and how are we going to give an indication what the reasons and criteria are for that amount? Is there a minimum of professional knowledge a student must acquire in order to pass?
Every main subject teacher has his or her own specializations and will have a hard time sketching its boundaries and the necessities for others.
In addition we are dealing with issues integrated into the practical knowledge of the art.
Superimposed or juxtaposed to that practical knowledge are facts and circumstantial evidence that inseparably belong to the practice. The difference however is that it can be communicated separate from the actual realization of music.
Historical musicology for instance, consists to a large extent of gathering data that are only meaningful in relation to each other. The bulk of musicological research has been the collective efforts to produce and prove that coherence.
In the department of historical performance the common denominator in relation to the music of the past is obviously knowledge obtained by research. Research with the help of historical sources is what defines Early Music and historical performance practice.
Evolution was from that historicizing perspective retrograde, because progress in this environment meant going backwards with certainty and confidence. Being ‘right’ on the basis of historical facts.
This inversion of the normal progression added a dimension of awareness, namely that historical knowledge could renew appreciations by performers as well as audience.
For a long time progress was a phenomenon, which was not exclusively reserved for health care or industrialization, also the arts were considered to enjoy inventions, which brought every new generation into a position that was superior to the previous. This view of continuous linear improvement is strongly related to the philosophical positivism.
The way the history of an instrument was described in conservatories during the subject of historical development was and often still is very much in line with this attitude.
It was my intention from the start of the research process to conceive a bridge between the Early- and Classical Music departments and to make sure that knowledge and expertise, which are present in both, will be increasingly shared.
As is referred to in the paragraph about commitment, a different attitude towards knowledge is needed in order to make it work in a holistic sense.
In the beginning I have therefore been searching for an explanation why most students have such a detached relation to facts that are not directly connected to their practical endeavors.
During my own experiments in the classroom (see xx) I realized that the frame of reference of students is not what we expect it to be on the basis of their choice to become a professional musician.
For that reason the knowledge presented is very unlikely going to be integrated in their system.
I designed a graphic representation of the process, which I thought would clarify in what direction our revision of learning should be molded. (see fig.)