Developing an inter-arts course for collegiate piano majors: a professional problem



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Texas Tech University


There are thousands of piano majors who are graduating every year from music schools throughout the world. What will future generations of pianists need in order to (1) survive in a highly competitive professional arena, and (2) recapture the interest of the concert going audiences of our times? Pianists immersed in artistic interdisciplinarity may discover new perspectives in pedagogy and performance not typically found in traditional approaches to education. These perspectives may develop and create new and unique areas for professional development.

This dissertation designed and delivered a pilot course that explored the use of selected interdisciplinary activities from music, theatre, visual, and kinesthetic arts to enhance pianistic artistry. By exploring interrelationships among these arts, students gained new insight into structural and interpretive elements of their music. Course participants had the opportunity to experience relationships between their: (1) body movements and those involved in piano playing, (2) emotions and those present in their music, (3) imagination and its uses in making pertinent interpretive choices, and (4) ideas of sound and the actual sounds made during their performances.

The course provided significant and observable changes in certain students that show evidence of the effectiveness of some of the activities in enhancing various aspects of artistry at the piano. These results may prompt further study in interdisciplinarity that can provide greater proof of its unique value in the development of artistry at the piano.