Inspiring, Affirming, Challenging

Stephanie E. Pitts

in Chances and Choices

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199838752
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950065 | DOI:
Inspiring, Affirming, Challenging

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This chapter considers the role of teachers and family as gatekeepers to the opportunities needed for young people to flourish musically. Instrumental teachers are the critical factor for many musicians of a classical background, bridging the gap between home and school experience, and offering the individual attention that secures a sense of musical confidence. Parents also shape their children’s experience through their own musical behaviour and attitudes towards music, while classroom teachers are most often seen as the providers of opportunities, and appear to achieve inspirational status out of the classroom more often than within it. Tales of off-putting or demoralizing teachers are also examined, and the theories of autobiographical memory are used to show how the same experiences can be a prompt to action for some young people, while destroying the confidence of others. Reported experiences of learning in later life show the lasting impact of formative influences, with adult identities as parents and teachers being shaped in part by childhood role models.

Keywords: teachers; parents; musical role models; classroom teachers; musical confidence; family; instrumental teachers

Chapter.  12221 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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