Bringing it all together: formal and informal learning in a university guitar class
Beaumont, Walter Lance
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This study seeks to integrate informal and formal music learning in a university guitar class with a secondary focus on evaluating the effectiveness of this approach in meeting student's stated goals for learning the guitar. Salient features in formal music learning were discovered from an examination of guitar method books. Informal features were examined from a reading of extant research on popular music pedagogy and expounded upon through research devoted to specific areas of informal music learning and popular music pedagogy. These features were used in the creation of a guitar curriculum to aid in the integration of both formal and informal music learning in a university guitar class. Data were gathered through pre- and post-study questionnaires, interviews, and video analysis. Analysis of data shows that integrating formal and informal music learning in a beginner's guitar class is effective in meeting student stated goals for the course. Note reading was an area that was not effective in meeting student goals for the course. Data revealed that note reading should be taught slowly, in key based relationships and with fewer notes taught over the 16 week course. Integrating informal music learning procedures in a formal environment proved to be challenging for the students. A difficulty existed in the student's ability to task switch between formal and informal learning in the University setting. Implications from the study are listening should be considered a primary means for learning music and haphazard learning is beneficial, though difficult to include in a systematized curriculum.