Informal music education: The nature of a young child's engagement in an individual piano lesson setting

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The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the nature of a young child's engagement in an individual music lesson setting based on principles of informal learning. The informal educational space allowed the child to observe, explore, and interact with a musical environment as a process of enculturation and development (Gordon, 2013; McCloskey, 2012). The setting incorporated the piano, and was considered a readiness experience for later formal piano training. Data collection occurred via video recording, with 24 episodes isolated for close analysis. Richly descriptive narratives of each episode were analyzed by line-by-line transformation regarding the nature of the child's engagement (Van Manen, 1990). The child's engagement in the setting was viewed through lenses of lived space, lived body, lived time, lived other (Van Manen, 1990), and lived musicality (Kooistra, 2013). Results include that the child engaged in the setting by expanding the boundaries of the room, using the full range of the room, using his body in rhythmic response, directing the time, including the parent in the lesson, creating pretend contexts, making music (singing, chanting, moving, playing the piano and other instruments), embedding music in his activities, and believing in his musicianship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-129
Number of pages15
JournalResearch Studies in Music Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Music

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