The distance piano classroom: a teaching approach implemented in a Music School in special quarantine conditions

Θωμόπουλος Τρύφωνας

Προφορική Ανακοίνωση

Session Μουσική εκπαίδευση στον καιρό της πανδημίας ( Sunday, 17-Apr-22 13:15:00 EEST )

The proposal presents an educational method that was implemented with excellent results at the Music School of Sparta in order to address the prolonged interruption of face-to-face piano classes during the second quarantine (2020-2021). The proposed approach follows the guidelines of polymorphic distance education (Lionarakis 2001) and is inspired by the personal family of teaching models (i.e. differentiated and non-formal teaching and learning, see Joyce, Weil & Calhoun, 2004), which aim to enrich the teaching of the instrument and ensure its multifaceted approach.

The approach creatively utilizes the Thinglink and Linoit web platforms as multimedia repositories of knowledge which, combined with asynchronous feedback via e-me and eclass, are turned into educational tools that may serve the teaching of musical instruments. In this case, a Sparta Music School photo is transformed into an interactive photo that incorporates multiple hotspots pertaining to the progress of each individual student. One can read notes on the score made during the lesson through Webex annotation features (i.e. fingering technique, performance guidelines, comments), or listen to recordings by the students, or even explore links with information on the type of music, the composers, the performances or the form of the pieces (wikipedia, Photodentro, e-books, linoit). Finally, one can read personal thoughts of the students on the unprecedented experience of the confinement we all experienced, thus connecting the learning process with everyday life.

Most of all, however, this method focuses on “the art of listening” through the piece we are studying - whatever source it comes from (students’own recordings, listening, watching videos and on-line performances, audio processing-audacity / mastering, midi). Sound is the starting point, the stimulus and the field for the production of conclusions, just as it is in the face-to-face/private teaching of the instrument. Evaluation and feedback use as their main source audio/video recordings from the students’ mobile/ tablet, which produce better features compared to those of the Webex connection, and are used as reference material. Feedback from the teacher through recording, video recording of the piece is also possible. Thus, pupils acquire critical listening skills, evaluate and process their performance as well as the work of their peers.

These asynchronous additions combined with techniques to improve the performance during synchronous teaching such as the use of a second camera via mobile phone (droidcam), or the use of a good quality microphone, focus from the beginning on those parts of the piece the student struggles with, saving time that is valuable during synchronous lessons via webex.

In conclusion, this educational proposal, combined with the targeted use of ICT in the teaching of instruments, even if it was applied remotely and in conditions of confinement, seems to have enhanced participation (this applies even to weak students), and created incentives for students to gain new experiences in digital and multimodal literacy, while reinforcing the need for collaboration. Thus modern pupils as digital natives (Prensky,  2001) learn to manage digital information and meet the digital challenges of their generation as contemporary musicians.

  • Πολυτροπικές δράσεις στη μουσική εκπαίδευση
  • Διδακτική μουσικών οργάνων και μουσικών συνόλων: φιλοσοφία, μεθοδολογίες και καλές πρακτικές
Keywords Polymorphic distance education, Music Schools, Piano teaching
Language Ελληνική
Author(s) CV

Trifonas Thomopoulos has a graduate Diploma in Piano Performance and Advanced Theory and postgraduate degrees at TCM London (PgD and MMus). He also studied at ASPAITE, and graduated with honours from the Hellenic Open University (Studies in Greek Culture). He has completed annual trainings in Special Education, Total Quality Management and New Technologies and Distance Education. He has been a contributor to challenging music education projects such as " Stegi Loves Autism" (Onassis Foundation) and "Music in pre-school education with the participation of Roma children" under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Culture, as well as Headmaster of a private primary school (2018-20). Since 2001, he has been working in Primary-Secondary Education (Music - general schools). Since 2021 he holds the position of piano teacher at the Music School of Heraclion.