The aim of the study presented in this paper is to explore the nature of understanding when learning music through the use of ‘graphic representations’ trialled in a learning conversation with a ten-year old flautist. It is argued that the powerful visual component of presenting a musical score in graphic form can enhance students’ understanding and ability to process the score more effectively by providing a succinct way of accessing the data. Central to understanding the analysis of sonata form movements is the need to create a representation which is independent from the existing score. This study offers a practical way of doing this which has the potential for wider application.

The article has no less than four authors:

David Ferrari has taught music in schools for many years and received a certificate of commendation in the Classic FM’s Music Teacher of the Year Awards. He collected the data for this article while doing further work with the co-authors at Durham University, UK, and currently teaches in the primary sector.

Dimitra Kokotsaki, MA, PhD is a lecturer at the School of Education and a member of the Education Evaluation Group at the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University. She teaches undergraduate and postgraduate modules on the Arts in Education. She has been principal investigator or co-investigator in a number of research projects including leading the evaluation of the Restorative Approaches initiative in County Durham and a recent piece of research funded by the Nuffield Foundation about improving the primary-secondary transition in music education at the North East of England. She is one of the authors of the Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit and is currently the lead process evaluation researcher for the Calderdale writing intervention funded by the Education Endowment Foundation.

Professor Douglas P. Newton PhD DSc teaches and researches in the School of Education of Durham University, UK. His current interest is in the purposeful kinds of thought in formal education, such as, understanding, creative, evaluative and wise thinking. Going beyond the cognitive strategies for exercising such thought, he has described how moods and emotions interact with cognition in ways which direct and shape these kinds of thought. His very successful book, Teaching for Understanding, is now in its second edition (Routledge, 2012), and his latest, highly praised book, Thinking with Feeling (Routledge, 2014) has been very well-received.

Lynn Newton, MA, PhD, is Professor of Education at Durham University, where she is Divisional Director for the School of Education’s range of Initial Teacher Education programmes. She teaches on a range of postgraduate programmes, leading a module on Purposeful, Productive Thought and supervises doctoral students. Previously she worked in schools before moving into university and has published widely in the areas of education generally and science education in particular. Her main interests are effective communication and strategies to encourage engagement. Her latest books are Creativity for a New Curriculum: 5-11 (Routledge, 2012) and From Teaching for Creatvie Thinking to Teaching for Productive Thought: An Approach for Elementary School Teachers (ICIE, Paris, 2013).

Read the article by David Ferrari, Dimitra Kokotsaki, Douglas P. Newton and Lynn Newton here