Learning to become a professional orchestral musician: going beyond skill and technique

Paul Hager, Mary C. Johnsson
2009 Journal of Vocational Education and Training  
Current theories of learning hold dominant assumptions about the type and scope of knowledge and skills taught in formal courses that prepare novices for professional practice at work. In performing arts educational contexts, a common emphasis continues to hone individual performance skills in order to gain technical mastery and to differentiate competitively against others. Our paper analyses a case study of an alternative educational program developed by a major orchestra, which serves to
more » ... ct young players into becoming professional orchestral musicians. Our analysis reveals the multiple kinds of learning that we claim can only be gained from context-sensitive participation in orchestral practice at work. We discuss six distinctive features of this practice-based learning and draw implications for how well the various main theories of workplace learning account for the types of learning identified in the case study. We conclude with some observations on what these findings suggest for Vocational Education and Training (VET) in general.
doi:10.1080/13636820902933221 fatcat:e3nxuwnivvakln3nua3mcphjj4