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A Study of the Teaching Material Content in Pathways to Artistry
Pathways to Artistry
The purpose of this study is to discuss the content of the Pathways to Artistry series using interviews and content analysis as primary research methods. Investigation into the content and implications of the teaching material from the point of view of the author, Catherine Rollin, and translator, Dr. YangYu-Jane, as well as an analysis of the “piano techniques,” “learning progressions,” and “musical styles” as introduced within the Pathways to Artistry: Repertoire Books has been undertaken. This study has arrived at the following conclusions: I. Pathways to Artistry Connotations 1. Teaching material background: The teaching material expresses the author’s personal belief, i.e. making good use of physical techniques while playing will assist musicians in musical interpretation and help them achieve a fusion of technique and artistry. The translator, translating the book into Chinese, undertook this work at the author’s request and saw it as a personal mission to promote its pedagogical value within Taiwan. 2. Teaching material content: At the core of the teaching material is the author’s emphasis on physical techniques during the playing of the piano. Learning how to use the wrist is the prerequisite and foundation for the further development of other skills. The translator, in the scope of the translation, has striven for fluency and clarity, using repeated, careful readings to achieve this goal. 3. Teaching material application: Both the author and translator believe that the Pathways to Artistry: Technique Books are applicable to all levels of learners, while the Pathways to Artistry: Repertoire Books work to strengthen the students’ use and application of the various categories of techniques, as well as their understanding of various musical styles and forms. The translator suggests that holding a teaching seminar on the topic could be helpful; hopes that teachers will see this teaching material as a valuable pedagogical tool; and encourages the offering of training courses to assist teachers with its application. II. Pathways to Artistry: Repertoire Series Instructional Content The entire Pathways to Artistry: Repertoire Books include 48 original compositions by the author. Using the topic of “technique categories” as discussed in the Pathways to Artistry: Technique Books as the basis for a category analysis of “piano techniques,” the “12 basic piano techniques” introduced within Pathways to Artistry: Technique, Book 1 were found to occur most frequently, with the application of eight of those techniques accounting for more than 50% of the total. “Learning progressions” were divided into the categories of “musical forms” and “performance articulation.” In the “musical forms” category, the ternary form accounted for the highest proportion (close to 70%), while in the “performance articulation” category, legato accounted for the highest proportion at 90%. “Musical styles” were divided between the four major periods of music: baroque, classical, romantic, and modern. The numbers of piano pieces from each period was generally evenly spread out over the whole series, with the romantic period slightly edging out the rest at 30% of the total. Finally, based on its research findings, this study offers suggestions with regard to the publication of teaching material, piano pedagogy, and directions of future research. Keywords: Pathways to Artistry, piano methods, piano techniques, piano pedagogy
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