‘Play it by ear’ – teachers’ responses to ear-playing tasks during one to one instrumental lessons

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Varvarigou, M. (2014)

This paper reports findings from the Ear Playing Project (EPP) in relation to the teaching strategies that 15 instrumental teachers adopted during one-to-one instrumental lessons whilst helping their students to copy music by ear from a recording. Overall, the teachers used a variety of strategies including singing and humming along with or without the recording, asking questions, and giving verbal explanation and positive feedback. By the end of the project the teachers indicated that the project showed them a new and enjoyable way to introduce aural-training tasks, it helped them develop their own confidence in ear-playing and it gave them the opportunity to observe and assess their students’ needs more carefully. The benefits for the students included greater enjoyment during instrumental lessons, development of aural and improvisation skills and greater confidence in instrumental playing.
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