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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: A study and survey of creativity in the piano lesson and its significance within the examination syllabi in Ireland
Degree Type: MA
Degree Specialism: Music Education
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: 2005
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: Mary Immaculate College, UL
Thesis Location / Link: Mary Immaculate College, UL Library
Abstract: This thesis explores the content of the piano lessons in terms of creativity with piano teachers in Ireland and investigates their opinions on the place of the graded examination system in the lesson. As there is rarely a set curriculum for piano teachers to follow, the piano lesson can often be dominated by examination preparation with much emphasis on notational and technical requirements while often neglecting musical and creative endeavours such as improvisation, composing, appraising and listening to music, memorising and playing by ear.
In the literature review, creativity is explored within the context of music education, general instrumental lessons, the process of composing and more specifically, within the piano lesson. It is also explored in recommendations made in the section on graded examinations.
The second part of this thesis consists of a survey of 22 piano teachers and elicits information on approaches used in the context of the piano lesson and their opinions emerging from their experience as regards creative work and the graded examination. It emerges that the majority of piano teachers working in Ireland mainly focus on preparing students for graded examinations, and feel they do so in a creative manner by incorporating imaginative and pictorial stimuli, discussing the music and encouraging aesthetic decision-making with their students. However, the survey also reveals that many of the same piano teachers often overlook the musical and creative aspects such as improvisation and composing etc. because of excessive examination preparation.
This thesis reveals that there appears to be little or no correlation between piano instruction for young children and the aims of the revised Piano School Music Curriculum. A general overview of piano teaching in Ireland and a consideration of other relevant recommendations and opinions made by piano teachers in the survey are also included.

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