Classically Influenced Heavy Metal Guitar Playing: Pedagogy, Integrated Learning and Creative Performance Practice

Date

2023

Authors

Yan, Qichen

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Abstract

This study combines formative research in music pedagogy and creative practice research in music performance to explore skill development of the classically influenced heavy metal (CIHM) guitar practice, a style that was prominent during the period between the late 1960s and 1980s. One component of this research establishes a revised concept and approach to skill development in the CIHM guitar style. The formative process of this approach incorporates aspects of rock historical research, analytical research and the adaptation of existing pedagogical theories and practices. This is integrated with the researcher's performance expertise and reflective teaching practice in a pilot teaching program, ensuring the new approach is built on both theoretical and practical considerations. The findings of the formative process enable reflective considerations on the researcher's own guitar study and creative practice within the CIHM context. This facilitates the development of the researcher's musical skills, demonstrated through creative works in the CIHM style. The creative component of this project includes ten originally composed guitar pieces with scores, and a professionally recorded live performance of these pieces. The creative works demonstrate the incorporation of CIHM guitar elements into the researcher's performance practice, and the intersections between the research and practical components of this project. This study acknowledges that ideologies have a strong influence on how rock music is made, played and most particularly, learnt. The musical and ideological diversity of rock make it difficult to define rock's musical characteristics, ideological values, and skill requirements. It is argued that specific learning and teaching approaches should be developed for distinct rock practices, rather than rock as a homogenous style. The new approach of this project is based on learning fundamentals of Western tonal music in the context of developing CIHM guitar skills within a structure of an integrated approach that involves aspects of performance, listening and composition. A pilot teaching program tests the practicality of this approach. Aspects of the approach are also referenced in the researcher's own integrated learning of the CIHM guitar style. The development of the revised pedagogical approach and the creative works are both essential outcomes of this project. The research and practical aspects of this study inform each other in an interdependent relationship. In achieving theoretical and practical outcomes in guitar pedagogy and creative practice, this study demonstrates the benefits of intersecting scholarly research with practice to better facilitate the development of both new research findings and practical results.

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Thesis (PhD)

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