The NSRMTA Independent Music Teachers’ Research Group (IMTRG) was formed in September 2003 by Lorna Wanzel, founding member, Shahien Hamza, Skippy Mardon and Helen Murray all members of the Halifax Chapter and Grace Luke a member of the Dartmouth Chapter.

The IMTRG was formed with the intention of controlling our own research agenda and working collaboratively to construct our own knowledge about those areas we considered problematic in the field of music teaching in the private studio.

Our research shares the experiences of five independent music teachers (IMTs) within a collaborative practitioner research group contextualized within the field of independent music teaching in Nova Scotia, Canada. IMTs work in isolation in their studios and except for occasional meetings organized by their registered music teachers’ associations, they rarely meet professionally. The NSRMTA IMTRG formed with the expressed purpose of breaking professional isolation and enhancing the usual ways in which IMTs gain knowledge.

Research to date was undertaken with the aim of investigating how IMTs engaged in research and the changes this made, not only to their own professional practice, but to the field more broadly.

Starting with the simple question “why don’t IMTs generally conduct practitioner research?”, considering this question engaged the researchers in a process of personal consciousness raising and formal research which exposed the problematic nature of the everyday lives of IMTs in the private music teaching studio, their relationships to institutional knowledge and the restraints on forming collaborative teacher-researcher relationships. This research was undertaken within an overarching methodology of critical action research. Qualitative methods were employed including interviews and the keeping of a reflective journal.

Our research gives evidence of the contribution this research has already made to changing professional practice and knowledge and makes recommendations for future collaborations.

Papers based on our research have been presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education Conference in Adelaide, Australia; International Society for Music Education, Research Commission in Porto, Portugal; 6th and 7th International Conferences on Problems in Music Pedagogy in Latvia; ISME Forum, at the International Conference in China and Greece, and other conferences in US and Canada.

For more information about our research please contact Dr. Lorna Wanzel, Chair of the IMTRG lwanzel@bellaliant.net

Dr. Jan MacMillan Paper

Dr. Jan MacMillan Power Point Presentation

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