Interaction types and interpersonal style: A model of parent involvement in instrumental music lessons

Interaction types and interpersonal style: A model of parent involvement in instrumental music lessons

An investigation by Creech (2010) of parent-teacher interactions has led to the development of six models of parent-student-teacher interaction in children’s instrumental music lessons.

Previous research has suggested that parental support and involvement in children’s instrumental music lessons is key to musical development and levels of expertise attained (Davidson, Sloboda, & Howe, 1996; Howe & Sloboda, 1991). Parental involvement which is supportive of musical development includes support for practice and lessons, valuing of musical activities, attending lessons, encouragement in the face of learning challenges, assistance in maintaining good practice habits, negotiation and support for child’s autonomy and sense of agency in the learning process, and overall sensitivity to children’s changing needs.

Creech’s (2010) study revealed six interaction types, represented as clusters, which show how the parent-student-teacher relationship functions and which are the most beneficial to children’s overall musical development.

Parent-pupil-teacher interaction types Figure

(Creech, 2010 p.24)

The results show that Cluster 3 & 5 have a distant and powerless teacher-parent relation and offer the least amount of parental support for the child. Cluster 1 has the most behavioural and personal support from the parent. Cluster 2 represents a parent who has a controlling role in relation to teacher and student.

Overall, Cluster 5 produced the least positive outcomes for the child, while Cluster 6 produced the most positive outcomes for the child in their musical development.

The results represent ways in which parental support can assist or hinder a child’s musical progress and development. Clusters with the least amount of parental support result in diminished enjoyment of music, satisfaction with lessons, motivation, self-efficacy and self-esteem of the child. This suggests that when parents have a low value and low expectancy for success for their child’s activity, are often a reflection of their own insecurities regarding a particular activity and manifest in withdrawal-like behaviours.

Clusters 4 and 6 has the most consistently positive outcomes for children. In these clusters, the parent supports the child’s development and allows the music teacher to develop the musical skills of the student. In these clusters, the child benefits from the support of both adults as well as being able to engage in on-going mutual interaction with adults who have a stake in their progress.

Overall, parents need to be versatile in the type and quality of interactions surrounding their child’s instrumental lessons and musical development. Positive outcomes include improvement in achievement when parents allow their child to have more autonomy in their learning, support practice issues, provide a structure environment for practising, take an interest in teacher-pupil rapport, communicate with the teacher and remain interested in their child’s progress and development.

Creech, A. (2010). Learning a musical instrument: the case for parental support. Music Education Research, 12(1), 13-32.

Davidson, J. W., Sloboda, J. A., & Howe, M. J. A. (1996). The role of parents and teachers in the success and failure of instrumental learners. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 127, 40-44.

Howe, M. J. A., & Sloboda, J. A. (1991). Young musicians: Accounts of significant influences in their early lives. 2. Teachers, practising and performing. British Journal of Music Education, 8(1), 53-63.

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