Hello everyone, this is Niklas posting!
Based on this paper, Lichen and I thought it would be interesting to compare musicians/ music students who are self-taught with people who are taking lessons. As it happens, I belong to the former group while Lichen was already taking cello lessons when she was four years old. Let’s start with a broader point of view.
Firstly, I want to make clear what we mean with a “self-taught” student. I didn’t figure out everything I know by myself. Books and (more importantly) the internet have been like a thousand different teachers to me. The referenced paper mentions multiple definitions, but we want to make the distinction by looking at whether the student gets guidance and feedback or not.
One of the interesting observations in the paper is how formal teaching can benefit from incorporating positive parts of informal teaching to improve, for example by paying more attention to popular music (more general: paying attention music that the students know and like), which is what informally trained musicians often base themselves on.
Concerning the musical education of children in particular, if the first priority of the teachers is to teach music notation, it is understandable that even though reading music notation is a valuable skill, the student may be less motivated than someone who picks up an instrument and starts figuring it out.
Finally the paper suggests that different methods may unite in the common goal of musical development.
Next week I’ll share my personal thoughts and experiences about this topic, and after that it’s Lichen’s turn!