University of Oulu

Creative musical instrument teaching and learning : participatory ethnographic research in Finland

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Author: Obaji, Eva1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.6 MB)
Pages: 56
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : E. Obaji, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-10-28
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Lehtomäki, Elina
Reviewer: Ervasti, Marja
Lehtomäki, Elina


Private musical instrument education is common in many countries, including Finland. However, there are extremely high dropouts from the lessons and teachers often face challenges in motivating the children to continue learning. The main goal of this study was to find the most important factors in creative music teaching. In order to achieve the aims of this master’s thesis, the following research questions have been used:

1. What can be taught and what creative methods should be used while teaching music to children with various music skills?

2. How to motivate and encourage children to learn playing musical instrument?

3. What influence do the teachers, parents, peers and other social factors have in the children’s musical skills development?

The theoretical framework of this study provides the understanding about the creativity as a concept and musical skills development. Besides, it describes the education system, music and musical instrument teaching in Finland. This research gives attention to the ideas of Burnard, P. (2006), Hallam, S. (2009), McPherson, G. & Hallam, S. (2009), Robinson K. (2016) and many other authors.

A qualitative approach and participatory ethnography is used as the research method. Data was collected during the year of 2017 by a music teacher from twelve children, who were attending weekly private musical instrument lessons for at least one year. The main data consists of reflective journals, observations and conversations. As a starting point of data analysis, the colour coding was used in order to organize the data into themes and categories. A qualitative thematic data analysis was chosen as a final data analysis.

The findings revealed three main themes based on the data analysis: Planning the lessons and performance, Creative musical instrument teaching and developing musical skills and Motivating and encouraging children to learn musical instrument. The last theme was divided into 2 sub-themes: teacher-child interactions and practicing at home and parental support. As the result, there were seven main factors found for creative teaching and learning.

An objective research perspective is used in this study. However, this research cannot be generalized as it is done in a specific environment with the unique participants. Hopefully, this study will be useful for the music educators and parents.

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