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Conservatoire students' perceptions of Master Classes

  • Andrea Creech (a1), Helena Gaunt (a2), Susan Hallam (a3) and Linnhe Robertson (a2)


The aim of this research was to investigate the value and purpose of Master Classes, from the perspective of Conservatoire students. Thirty-seven UK Conservatoire students responded to a questionnaire, providing information about their prior experiences of Master Classes, the factors that they considered to be important in a successful Master Class and any possible barriers to learning in Master Classes. The students considered Master Classes to offer valuable performance opportunities, fresh ideas for approaching musical interpretation and technique and access to a professional community of practice. Performance anxiety was noted as a barrier to learning for those who performed in Master Classes and students raised several issues relating to the problematic notion of ‘participation’ as an audience member. Whilst the sample was clearly limited, these findings contribute to an understanding of how students might best be facilitated in capitalising on the opportunity to learn in Master Class contexts.



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