Transformative teacher training strategies of stringed instruments in South African Community Music programmes

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Diamond, Samson
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University of the Free State
South African Community Music programmes are at the vanguard of responding to a multitude of challenges, including not only access to music education but also to teacher training and, more specifically, string teacher training. Where high standards are not persistently met, the historical inequities in the provision of quality music education may perpetuate legacies of inequality. Thus, to provide students with the best possible music education that fosters high aspirations and enables them to realise their full potential and personal growth, string teachers engaged in Community Music programmes must receive training that is intentional, structured, frequent, and both intense and intensive. This study examined the current state of string teacher training in South African Community Music programmes where former students are now employed as teachers with the aim of investigating their successes and weaknesses. The objective was to gain an in-depth understanding of these programmes to make recommendations for enhancing string instruction. To achieve this, a descriptive research design and an interpretive multiple case study underpinned by social constructivism were implemented, supported by a theoretical framework that was applied to transformational teaching. Through an extensive literature study that extracted previous research on Community Music and divergent practices, accounts of string pedagogy and contemporary string teaching methodologies were reviewed. By conducting interviews with 13 participants from three cases (Community Music programmes), the study shared the insights and lived experiences of programme directors and string teachers which illuminated the central tenets of transformative strategies for string teacher training. A shortage of resources, successful and ineffective string teaching practices and methodologies, factors affecting the growth and effectiveness of string teachers, and measures to improve string teacher training were some of the findings that emerged from the data. The study also identified strategies for string teacher training that encourage teachers to work collaboratively, frequently, and intensively in an environment that promotes active engagement and reflective practice. Community Music programmes have the potential to promote positive social outcomes, such as personal development through music education achievement, community development through cultural and economic empowerment, social cohesion, and improved wellbeing, as determined by and demonstrated in this study.
Thesis (Ph.D. (Odeion School of Music))--University of the Free State, 2023