A performer's creative processes: implications for teaching and learning musical interpretation

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Music Education Research


The purpose of this study is to investigate aspects of musical interpretation and suggest guidelines for developing performance students' interpretative processes. Since musical interpretation involves basic issues concerning the nature of music, and competing concepts of 'interpretation' and its teaching, an overview of these issues is given. There is tendency towards vagueness and incompleteness in many writings on musical interpretation, which may stem from (1) a lack of music education research that considers Music in Situ - a specific work, a specific performer's interpretations of that work, and his/her performative realisations of the work; and (2) a traditional tendency to compartmentalise the education of future performers, educators, and researchers, and their studies. In addressing some of the above issues, and probing the complex web of relationships involved in musical interpretation, several methods of research are used: case study; theoretical-historical musical analysis; narrative inquiry; music criticism; and music philosophy. The participant-artist in this study is a renowned Russian concert pianist, Gregory Haimovsky; the music under consideration is Chopin's Op. 24, No. 4. The study concludes with several interrelated suggestions, including: enabling students to create musically informed, artistic, and personal interpretations of musical works may be assisted by: (1) broadening students' general knowledge base beyond musical technique; (2) advancing students self-efficacy, using constructivist teaching strategies, and creative democratic teaching-learning contexts; (3) utilising interpretive processes that follow a whole-part-whole pattern of performing, analysing (formal, historical, cultural, and other musical details), re-interpreting, intramusical, and intermusical listening; and (4) considering that ethical issues are central in both performance teaching and musical interpretation



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Published Citation

Silverman, Marissa. 2008. “A Performer’s Creative Processes: Implications for Teaching and Learning Musical Interpretation.” Music Education Research 10 (2): 249–69. doi:10.1080/14613800802079114.