Aural modeling and mental representations to elicit young students' metacognitive responses in developing expressivity at the piano
Bonnaire, Serge Joseph
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The purpose of this empirical study, whose theoretical framework is based on Bandura’s (1986) social cognitive theory, was to investigate the effectiveness of including a metacognitive approach in teaching expressivity at the piano. The effect of metacognition, combined with that of aural modeling and aesthetic and stylistic mental representations, was assessed regarding the promotion of a higher-order thinking, one that fosters the development of musical expressivity in young pianists. From a social cognitive theory perspective, metacognition is defined as the aptitude to reflect on one’s own thinking to assess and find the most appropriate course of action to control performance of a task (Bandura, 1986; Flavell, 1979). Equally important in the social cognitive theory is the concept of modeling, which is based on the idea that one can learn new skills by observing another individual’s actions. In turn, the mental representations of the observed tasks function to guide the learner’s performance (Bandura, 1986). Results highlighted the central role played by aural modeling. The aesthetic and stylistic mental representations in the metacognitive process allowed young pianists to elicit an expressive musical idiom through a mental conversion process. The constructs of aural modeling and of aesthetic and stylistic mental representations, along with that of musical phraseology, functioned both independently and in conjunction with each other. They provided students with a mechanism with which to reflect on ways to adjust expressivity in their playing. Results also indicated a positive influence of the above constructs on the overall performance of young pianists.