Keyboard Studies

The Finland Project

The Finland Project, initiated in September 2007, was developed as an action-research project within the Department of Keyboard Studies with funding from a DIT Learning and Teaching Award.  It explores the pedagogical and musical issues arising when the 'Finnish Piano School' materials and methods are used by teachers and students at DIT.

Background to the Project

Finland has a highly successful network of specialist music schools where piano students are taught using specially-designed 'Finnish Piano School' materials.  This is not a method in the traditional sense but rather an agreed rationale which binds teachers in a common goal in developing young pianists, without compromising individual teaching and learning styles.  It incorporates a series of piano tutor books, which guides students and teachers through a structured programme with imaginative material introducing musical concepts in an innovative way.  There is a strong emphasis on discovery learning and incorporating reading, playing, improvisation and transposition.

How the project works

The project involves approximately nine piano teachers (initially) from the Keyboard Department and focuses on the teaching of nine beginner piano students using the Finnish books and materials.  During the course of the academic year, the students attend a weekly 30-minute piano lesson with a teacher from the project team who will have had training in using the 'Finnish Piano School' materials and methodologies.  The teacher writes a reflective report on each lesson and the students are assessed at regular intervals to determine progress in the areas of music literacy and aural, notational and manipulative skills.

The staff involved in the project meet regularly to discuss the progress of individual students and to explore issues arising from their own experience of using the Finnish materials and methods.  All project team meetings are recorded and documented.  At the end of the academic year semi-structured interviews will be held with all of the participating staff, focusing on the issues arising during the course of the project.

It is hoped that the findings of the project will be presented at various fora, including national and international conferences and that the project will, in time, be extended to include a larger number of teacher and students.

Further information is available from the Head of Keyboard Studies.