The provision of instrumental lessons in certain areas of England can be hampered by the geographical position of some schools that are rural in nature, with teachers needing to travel long distances between schools. Internet-based technologies have been successfully used elsewhere to deliver instrumental lessons. A collaboration between the authors, North Yorkshire Music Action Zone and YouCanPlay allowed the delivery of instrumental lessons using Skype in combination with a Roland VR-3EX, an AV Mixer which offers 3 camera angles and good quality sound. Our aim was to repurpose existing technology to provide instrumental lessons in remote rural communities. The study was conducted in two-phases: a pilot study in North Yorkshire; and a further roll-out of the lessons in four additional areas (Cornwall; Cumbria; Durham/Darlington; and East Riding of Yorkshire). We wished to investigate the technical challenges and pedagogical aspects of the delivery, and also compare digitally-delivered and face-to-face instrumental lessons to explore the differences in behaviour. Data collected included pre- and post-project interviews with teachers, recordings of the teachers’ first and last lessons, and post-project questionnaires from pupils and their parents. Results suggested that there were technical challenges relating to sound, video and connection quality, and the physical environment of the lessons, some of which were alleviated by the Roland VR-3EX. Some concerns expressed by teachers in the initial interviews failed to materialise; others were overcome to some extent. Pupils concentrated well, were motivated to practice, and made good progress. Further analysis of the video data has allowed the comparison of face-to-face and digitally-delivered lessons. All teachers found the digital teaching more challenging than their usual face-to-face teaching; however, all reported that they would undertake similar teaching again. This paper focuses upon the exploring the behaviour of participants observed in the lessons. Digital delivery has the potential to provide greater access to instrumental lessons for children in rural communities.
King, A., Prior, H., & Waddington-Jones, C. (2019). Exploring teachers’ and pupils’ behaviour in online and face-to-face instrumental lessons. Music education research, 21(2), 197-209. https://doi.org/10.1080/14613808.2019.1585791