Major/Minor – Music/Drama

Much has been written on the topic of instrumental and vocal (singing)  pedagogy.  Quite right. One-to-one (or pairs/small group) private tuition is very different from classroom teaching, as I have experienced.

The differences between classroom and private teaching are addressed in courses such as the MA in Instrumental and Vocal Pedagogy at the University of York, the MMus in Performance and Pedagogy at the Birmingham Conservatoire and the MA in Music Education and Performance at Trinity Laban. Courses such as these focus strongly on the theory and practice of one-to-one and small-group tuition. 1162993Modules may include: music education psychology; learning styles; the pupil-teacher-parent relationship; teaching materials;  learning and teaching approaches; teaching particular musical skills such as sight-reading, improvisation; preparing students for performance and/or examinations … and so forth.

While Drama as a curriculum subject does not suffer in terms of either appropriate training courses, research or literature aimed at classroom teachers, there is almost nothing equivalent for Speech & Drama tuition.  Some drama schools now offer courses in voice and movement teaching, but these are highly specialised, take on very few students (sometimes, I believe, only one or two a year) and are aimed at those who seek a career training professional actors – not aspiring classroom teachers.  A new course at GSMD offers a PGCert in Performance Teaching “designed to support professional musicians, actors, theatre technicians and dancers who teach as part of their practice as performers or in undertaking a portfolio career“.  This is aimed at professional performers/practitioners who wish to add a teaching string (or qualification) to their bow.  However, not every teacher of Speech & Drama has carved out a professional performing career for themselves, nor necessarily wants to. LAMDA offers a Diploma in Speech and Drama Education and their Certificate in Speech and Drama: Performance Studies (PCertLAM) – neither of which are formal teaching qualifications. Trinity College London offers pathways as part of their suite of Diplomas.  As with LAMDA, there is no prescribed ‘course’ to follow.

h_steiner3-680x251_cPerhaps this is a long-running status issue. Rudolf Steiner identified this as long ago as 1924: “It would hardly occur to anyone who had not mastered the preliminaries of piano-playing to come into a company of people and sit down at the piano and play. There is, however, a tendency to imagine that anyone can ( …) speak or recite. The fact is, the inadequacy and poverty of stage speaking (…) will never be rectified, nor will the general dissatisfaction that is felt on the matter among the performers themselves be dispelled, until we are ready to admit that there are necessary preliminaries to the art of speech just as much as there are to any performance in the sphere of music.

Not much has changed in, oh, nearly a century.

(Note: there are differences between Drama Pedagogy, Theatre Pedagogy and Performance Pedagogy, which I will explore at a later date).


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