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Proposal of a Learning Model for Music Performance

The present article proposes a learning model that describes the whole process of musical instrument’s practice, exposing its necessary knowledge and skills, aiming to provide scientific basis for Music Performance. The model proposes a model that
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  PROPOSAL OF A LEARNING MODEL FOR MUSIC PERFORMANCE  Daniel Lemos CerqueiraUniversidade Federal do Maranhão (UFMA) Abstract: The present article proposes a learning model that describes the whole process of musical instrument’s practice, exposing its necessary knowledge and skills, aiming to provide scientific basis for Music Performance.The model proposes a model that indicates the relationship between the various elements involved in the practice, assuming that they occur simultaneously. For this, a brief critical review of history and commonmethodologies of Musical Instruments Pedagogy were done, focusing on brazilian’s context. The main referencefor this work is the Pianistic Learning Theory (Teoria da Aprendizagem Pianística) from José Alberto Kaplan,dialoguing with Cognitive Psychology and Musical Instruments Pedagogy. Analysis of various musicalinstrument’s study tools were done, according to its applicability – general or idiomatic. Conclusions aim tomodel applications such as the addition of study tools analysis, construction of study planning and solutions for common Performance related problems, focusing on practical application of the present model to prove itsefficiency for both students and experienced performers. Keywords: Music Performance Learning Model, Music Performance, Performance Pedagogy, MusicalInstrument Pedagogy, Music Education   Introduction The present model aims to describe the whole process of learning and performingmusical instruments, focusing on the simultaneously kinds of knowledge required to performconcert repertoire. The main purpose of this work is to provide scientific basis for musicalinstrument’s practice, helping performers to build their own study planning and providingsolutions to common study problems presented by both professional performers and students.In Brazil, Musical Instrument’s Pedagogy (or Performance Pedagogy, accordingto some authors) doesn’t constitute a formal research line, having only a few contributionsthrough the years (BORÉM, 2001; HARDER, 2008: p.127). One of its consequences is theabscence of specific pedagogy courses for instrument’s professors (GLASER;FONTERRADA, 2007: p.29), possibly due to the characteristic traditionalism presented bymusical learning institutions. Another factor is the relative isolation from instrument’s professors, avoiding reflections upon their own pedagogical practices (HALLAN, 1998: p.241; BORÉM, 2006: p.46). Facing this scenario, the tendency is to repeat – unconsciouslymost of the time – the learning method experienced in their own lives (GLASER;FONTERRADA, 2007: p.31).One of the most discussed questions regarding musical instrument’s learning isthe absence of methodological support for individual classes (FOWLER, 1988), the mostcommon and efficient learning methodology, applied until nowadays. Harnoncourt says thatmusical instrument’s knowledge transmission is very similar to the “master-apprentice”relation presented in workmanship (HARNONCOURT, 1988: p.29), reinforcing its oraltradition characteristic. Various works about individual classes – also known in Brazil as  2 “tutorial classes” – were published since 1700, focusing on empirical experiences andauthor’s opinions (JØRGENSEN In: WILLIAMON, 2004, p:87). However, there are only afew works that provides scientific support for this learning methodology.Since 18 th century, Composers and performers started to create musicalinstrument’s learning methods, based specially in pieces with progressive difficulty levels,focusing on mechanical aspects of instrumental practice. These methods became themethodological mainstay in Conservatoire’s programs, musical learning institutions createdon 19 th century to formalize musical instrument’s learning (FUCCI AMATO, 2001: p.79).The following comment illustrates the idea concerning this pedagogical practice: The old relationship of master and apprentice was abandoned and everything that had to do with utterance – which requires understanding – was eliminated. To thisday conservatoires drill performance techniques rather than teaching music as alanguage (LAWSON; STOWELL, 1999, p.152). Kaplan reinforces that emphasis on mechanical aspects of instrument’s practice and teachingof Music as a conjunct of rules generates performing bad habits, prejudices critical capacity of solving study problems and musical sensibility required to individual’s artistic development(KAPLAN, 1987: p. 92). Also, the criteria applied in programs to distinguish the complexitylevel of musical pieces aren’t supported by scientific basis, being even contrary if analyzedupon specific aspects (KAPLAN, 1987: p.95-103). These methods also don’t consider motivational factors, a fundamental learning element 1 . The main reason for this is theinexistence of a place for reflection and creativity on musical instrument classes due to the program that must be carried out (ESPERIDIÃO, 2002: p.70) – normally distant fromstudent’s cultural reality.Since 20 th century, music educators such as Maurice Martenot, Carl Orff, ZoltánKodály, Jacques Dalcroze, Edgard Willems and Keith Swanwick worked on research of musical methods based in new presupposes, being known in Brazil as “active methods”.However, the application of these methods faced resistance in music education institutions(FONTERRADA, 2005: p.108), being utilized in Brazil as basis for music education inregular schools. An important observation about these methods concerns the pedagogicalmethodology: they commonly focus on collective classes, not individuals, as required for musical instrument’s learning. Recent researches based on practical applications showed thatcollective classes are efficacious in initial stages of music learning, and after certain point,individual classes are required to keep the instrumental development (CERQUEIRA, 2010: p.6). Then, collective classes become a tool to complement individual ones, changing itsformat to Performance workshops. However, music education institutions rarely provide  3 necessary pedagogical support for professors to change their methodology, another possiblereason to the application of new methods. (CERQUEIRA, 2010: p.3-4)The principal reference for the elaboration of the Music Performance LearningModel is the Pianistic Learning Theory (“Teoria da Aprendizagem Pianística”) developed byJosé Alberto Kaplan (1935-2009), pianist, professor and researcher from Brazil’s FederalUniversity of Paraíba (UFPB). This theory provides multidisciplinary scientific basis for Piano’s learning, focusing mostly on Cognitive Psychology, Anatomy and Physiology. Thisapproach explains most of processes involved in musical instrument’s learning and practice,clarifying some “myths” present in empirical learning. Although the importance of this work to Piano Pedagogy, its application in music institutions remains limited, probably due to thelack of interest from piano professors, habituated to the oral transmission of knowledge. Learning Model for Music Performance The present term was chosen because it represents more efficiently the whole process, which involves learning and improving repertoire stage and performance preparation.This model can assist solutions for typical studying, planning and performing problems faced by students and professional performers, being also a reference to construct solid study planning for experienced performers. However, this study can be applied to practice of concert music by memory, focusing on the development of its required skills. For theinsertion of other kinds of musical knowledge (such as improvisation 2 , sight-reading and popular music skills), further researches must be done 3 .Below, an illustration of Music Performance Learning Model (fig. 1):  4  Fig. 1 –Music Performance Learning Model  The present model shows the connections between the various elements involvedin musical instrument’s practice. Some of them are positioned conforming to circumferencecolors, following their arrows. These elements represent processes that start on a theoreticalconcept (Memory, Consciousness or Movement) and finish on another, according to their respective arrow direction. The centralized bold elements are hybrid – both involves twotheoretical concepts simultaneously. Also, two regions related to the preparing stages (Studyand Execution) can be seen, involving the most used elements during each one of thosestages. It’s important to have in mind that these elements always occur at once while practicing a musical instrument, so it’s not possible to study “only” mechanical skills,separated rhythms or “only” musical aspects, being opposite to typical method approachessuch as “studies for   staccatto ” or “studies for scales”, in example. So, the performer must beaware that the practice involves all concepts at once, needing focus of concentration directedto the desired musical structure to be studied without loosing the whole understanding 4 .Below, there are classifications and descriptions for each model element.  5  Activity Elements   Corresponds to the kinds of brain’s processed information, done by theassimilation (input) and evocation (output) mechanisms (KAPLAN, 1987: p.21-24). Thoseconcepts exist only for theorical purposes; practical events uses two or more of them. Theyare: Movement : dislocatement of the body or one of its segments on space (KAPLAN, 1987: p.29). Memory : information acquired by external and internal stimuli 5 , being movement orders(kinesthetic memory) or rational and intuitional knowledge 6 . Consciousness : voluntary brain intervention on the process, related to internalized actionsand mental activity.  Retaining Elements   Concerns the processes of retaining information and skills in various kinds of memory. Division of memory into motion/kinesthetic, auditory/auditioning, logical and visualwere commonly adopted my Music Performance researches since the primary works fromMatthay (1926). They are: Kinesthetic Memory 7 : storage of movement information (KAPLAN, 1987: p.69). Visual Memory : retaining of visual information. On music instrument’s practice, it works inaddiction to the kinesthetic memory, contributing to movement’s automatization. Logical Memory 8 : comprehension of the piece’s structural and formal relations, its style andmusical language, being assimilated and recognized (KAPLAN, 1987: p.69). Chaffin et al   reinforces the importance of analysis to identify musical patterns, aiming to the retaining of musical content (CHAFFIN; IMREH; CRAWFORD, 2002: p. 67-69). Also, Kovacsconcluded that his students should study understanding the piece rather than focusing onmechanical realization (KOVACS, 1916). Auditive Memory : retaining of melodic lines, harmonic progressions, sonority or anyelements with a meaning perceived through the audition. This memory is related to intuitionaland musical knowledge, working in addiction to the logical memory (GINSBORG In:WILLIAMON, 2004: p.130-131). Psychomotricity : any process that involves the use or acquisition of movement information.Through a conscious mechanical education, mechanical skills are improved and evocatedeach time the performer works on a new repertoire. So, this concept relates to capacity of 
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