Learning in group: an educational action-research project as a mode of educational development

Bruna Vieira


This action-research project aimed to develop playing by ear in group in Functional
Piano classes and understand how this practice could contribute to music learning in this
discipline. The project was developed in one academic semester with two groups of five
undergraduate music students who tested the new teaching-learning approach which had
more emphasis on playing by ear. The action-research took place in three cycles. At the end
of each cycle, an interview was held with each group in order to assess the work done and
propose new teaching-learning strategies to enhance the approach. In this paper I will
discuss the main findings through focus group method and the efficacy of the action-research
design. The analysis of the interviews shows that: 1) results of the playing by ear practice
clarified theory of existing knowledge; 2) the involvement in the project lead to powerful
learning for the participants; 3) the focus on reflexivity more clearly shown what happened in
the process; 4) the collaborative aspect of action research favored the group learning. From
these results, it was concluded that the group discussions contributed to enhance a musical
group practice and that the use of action-research in music education has great potential for
improving practice.


action-research; music education; group learning; functional piano

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