Education: Enhancing Pre-Service Teacher Understanding of Instrument Performance

Title: Using Research to Improve Soprano Recorder Performance Skills
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Education, Music
Authors: Steve Kimball, Mark Kiehn, Pao Lor, University of Wisconsin–Green Bay
Submission Date: February 26, 2007

Executive Summary: Future professional educators need to consult scholarly research to develop teaching philosophy, learning theory, and methods/pedagogy. This lesson study was designed to encourage students to go beyond the classroom by utilizing research to improve performance skills on the Soprano Recorder Instrument, and to further their practical knowledge of teaching pedagogy.

Past experiences indicate that students practice in different ways and often inconsistently. The course instructor emphasized learning how to practice efficiently and effectively by directing the students to the literature on muscial practice approaches.

The specific goals of the lesson were as follows:

  1. Students will be exposed to literature regarding formal systems of musical instrument practice.
  2. Students will be exposed to ways of improving their understanding of different methods of teaching/practicing instruments.
  3. Students will engage in small group and large group discussions to identify themes in the literature regarding efficient practice of musical instruments.

Students were required to find an article (ideally, an article on Soprano Recorder Instrument practice) through an over-night assignment. They were to write a summary of the article’s content and describe how the article related to their own practice of instruments. Additionally, students examined the article to see if it enhanced their understanding of different music education methods and pedagogy.

The activity was successful in several ways. The students received an opportunity to be exposed to the literature on musical instrument practice. They had the opportunity to see if their method of practice was actually one discussed by authors in the music education field. Students were exposed to various teaching methodologies in addition to a variety of practice methods in the literature. Students also were able to share their summary and findings with their peers in both small groups (n=10) and large groups (n=30) settings.

Art: Gesture Drawing

Title: Gesture Drawing: The Essence of Capturing the Moment as a Tool for Extended Investigation
Discipline(s) or Field(s) : Art & Design
Authors: Diane Canfield Bywaters, Susan Morrison, Sheila Sullivan, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Submission Date: Spring 2007

When enrolling in Drawing II the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point art and design students have already covered the basics of drawing. This second drawing class is then geared for developing conceptual ideas within an exploration of color media. However, faculty had noticed that the building block of gesture was applied inconsistently within the Drawing II class. This assignment was to reintroduce the student to gesture in a different way: building multiple gestural images on the same page and relating those images through color and mark-making utilizing the entire picture plane. The assignment emphasizes the importance of gesture and the application gesture has in drawing and painting development.

Learning Goals

  • Loosen Up
  • Full body motion to move drawing hand (versus wrist action)
  • Quick visualization
  • Trust
  • Understanding that gesture is an unlimited root of extended drawing

Approach – Open minded, high energy, experimental and process oriented, for a kinesthetic experiential drawing.

Findings – The students resist this risk taking; and uncontrolled non-representational “scribbling”. However, once the student succeeds at this approach there is a confidence, and willingness to “go with the flow” and to let the picture grow from the page rather than be dictated by a mental construct.

Students have exhibited works created in this and related assignments in the UWSP Juried Annual Art Foundation Exhibition (juried by an outside judge). In addition, the faculty who are using this assignment and related assignments consistently receive excellent faculty evaluations, and student comments related in evaluations are consistently positive. Initially the assignment was taught without the use of master examples presented in the classroon and handouts, our findings indicate that this added information enriches the outcome. To our surprise, the act of creating the video segment of this project also enriched the experience of the students, and could be a teaching and learning opportunity for further study.