Enjoy your playing whilst you may


In this master’s thesis, I present action research that I conducted over a two-year period in the context of my use and development of a teaching method based on the ideology of free improvisation in piano teaching.
I seek to answer the question of whether free improvisation is a suitable approach for young piano students. The scholarly context in which I have chosen to situate my work is based on the theory of constructivism, ideas of the student as a creator of knowledge and the collaborative basis which I believe is essential for individualized studies. In this light, I discuss the theories of scholars who highlight the importance of play, creation and improvisation in music. My primary emphasis is on examining how I execute and develop my teaching based on the ideology and methodology of free improvisation and how students respond to those efforts.
Data was acquired by recording my piano students‘ instrument lessons over a two-year period. I also recorded my reflections before and after class and made audio recordings of my reflections on walks in nature.
The primary challenges were to harness my own teaching energy and the impulse to direct the improvisation, as free improvisation work with young students is based on active listening by the teacher, who positions themself as an equal in the improvisation process.
The conclusions indicate that the use of free improvisation in piano teaching is an interesting approach and well suited to creating conditions that draw out young students‘ creativity, flow and joy of playing. I believe that technical work and development of fine motor skills that apply to piano playing benefit from this use of free improvisation. In my opinion, such an approach is well suited to increasing young students‘ wellbeing and joy of playing.


Ingunn Hildur Hauksdóttir
ingunnhildur [at] gmail.com
Advisors: Hafþór Guðjónsson og Ingimar Ólafsson Waage