Permutations of standard piano works: a curriculum for the development of student musicianship
Traditional piano instruction rarely includes improvisation, or even playful permutations of studied works, but there are sound musical reasons for the inclusion of some level of piano improvisation in the training of all musicians at the collegiate level. When defined as a creative process through which an individual creates music within the framework of a specific musical style, improvisation allows the student musician to explore, examine, and extend the musicianship that is initially developed through more traditional studio and class piano activities. Permutation, a more limited transformation of musical components which still retains the character of a work, aids the student's comprehension of the musical style and structure of a work.This dissertation chronicles the development of a curriculum for the development of student musicianship through creating permutations of standard piano works. It is launched from Elizabeth Vallance's curriculum theory, which suggests that through various ways of experiencing subject matter (in this case, a musical work), a more thorough understanding of the work will result. Thus, new constructions can be designed through the manipulation of the elements of a musical work, leading to the development of student musicianship. Comprehensive Musicianship provides a second impetus for this curriculum, in that it emphasizes the development of musical skills and understanding through balanced instruction in listening, performing, and creating.Permutations of Standard Piano Works: A Curriculum for the Development of Student Musicianship is in essence an aurally-based curriculum. Its emphasis is the strengthening of listening skills through aurally presented music for which notation is not present. At a computer work station with MIDI keyboard, students follow an instructional manual, and listen to 12 standard piano works and excerpts (generated by a computer with sequencer). As students hear the original works and also new phrases created in the style of the model composition, they respond by initiating vocalizations and then playing. These phrases are intended to stimulate students' own new constructions of the work, while yet maintaining the stylistic features. This curriculum leads students to their own permutations, which they record, and then evaluate according to a set of ten musical criteria. The curriculum is intended to fill a void in piano pedagogy, as a means of teaching a more complete musical understanding of standard piano works through directed listening and the invention of musical permutations.
- Music