Stepping into the unknown: The experiences of tertiary piano students studying improvisation
Music Education Research
Taylor & Francis
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)
For many music students studying classical piano in tertiary institutions, techniques in improvisation are not included in their undergraduate curriculum. Despite the acknowledged musical benefits of improvisation, piano pedagogy curricula remain firmly rooted in the nineteenth century, focusing on the performance of the familiar canon of classical repertoire. In this study, in which we set out to explore the possible benefits of introducing formal improvisation lessons, eight students were selected from two universities in Hong Kong and Perth respectively. Using an active research methodology, the students were given four one-hour improvisation lessons each of which was followed by a focus group interview. In addition to making recommendations for improvisation to occupy a space in undergraduate classical piano curricula, other unexpected findings regarding group teaching for pianists, and teaching across an international context are presented.