Six-hands piano pieces: Creating a social learning opportunity for piano students
This paper explores the possibilities and benefits of social learning within music making, more specifically when learning the piano. Its starting point is that the piano, for beginners, is too often treated only as a solo instrument and the possibilities for social learning are not sufficiently explored. And although much literature and studies are dedicated to social learning within music, there is not much development regarding different possibilities and tools we can use for social learning environment when it comes to piano students. As a pianist, composer and music teacher I am constantly searching for new methods to involve children in music making; to truly engage and motivate them. One of the results of this exploration has led to a series of compositions and learning tools for the piano: A series of three books with compositions for six-hands piano, and a series of three books with exercises in music theory for piano students at beginner level. These books have all been created with the aspect of social learning as a starting point; social learning as in learning music in a group as opposed to individual lessons. The books serve as a case study for identifying and focusing on three key aspects that are crucial when learning the piano; motivation, communication, and musical understanding and skills. These aspects are considered through a social learning environment for piano students and by pointing at different factors that can lead to motivation and a positive learning experience.