Communicating musical knowledge through gesture: Piano teachers’ gestural behaviours across different levels of student proficiency
Lilian Simones (SARC), Dr Matthew Rodger (Psychology) and Dr Schroeder (SARC) published another article in the Journal Psychology of Music.
The exploratory case study compares the gestural behaviour of three piano teachers while giving individual lessons to students who differed according to piano proficiency levels. The data was collected by video recordings of one-to-one piano lessons and gestures were categorized using two gesture classifications: the spontaneous co-verbal gesture classification (McNeill, 1992; 2005) and spontaneous co-musical gesture classification (Simones, Schroeder & Rodger, 2013).
Poisson regression analysis and qualitative observation suggest a relationship between teachers’ didactic intentions and the types of gesture they produced while teaching, as shown by differences in gestural category frequency between teaching students of higher and lower levels of proficiency. Such reported agreement between teachers’ gestural approach in relation to student proficiency levels indicates a teachers’ gestural scaffolding approach whereby teachers adapted gestural communicative channels to suit students’ specific conceptual skill levels.
These findings provide useful insight into how the teaching/learning process influences movement/gestural features during musical performance and at the same time initiate a debate among professionals on matters related to instrumental music tuition informing pedagogical practice, prompting recommendations for future practice in the design and administration of music performance tuition, with potential applicability in other disciplinary areas of similar pedagogical settings.