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Paradigm War

Lessons Learned from 19th Century Piano Pedagogy

Author(s): Lia Laor

Book Description

The story of piano pedagogy in 19th century Europe has yet to be fully told, although it is of immediate relevance for current music education. Europe at that time was the hub of unparalleled critical scholarly discourse, which deliberated on theories of piano pedagogy and the merits of pedagogical music. Impressively, this discourse was shaped by a wide diversity of contributors who included that period’s leading composers like Clementi, Czerny, Beethoven, and Schumann, as well as performers, pedagogues, and music critics, while even addressing parents and young piano students.

Offering a unique glimpse into the rich primary sources of such interdisciplinary historical dialogue and musical works, Paradigm War: Lessons Learned from 19th Century Piano Pedagogy presents this story from a synoptic multidimensional viewpoint, integrating developmental-musical, as well as psychological-educational and aesthetic, perspectives. Thus, this book provides an intellectual map for critically evaluating these authentic early contributions to the field in terms of the two conflicting methodological paradigms that governed piano pedagogy of the time – mechanism and holism – which had emerged, respectively, from Enlightenment and Romantic philosophies.

The paradigm war reached its climax and resolution in Robert Schumann’s works that, following Jean Paul Richter’s ideas on aesthetics and education, offered a methodological modification transcending both paradigms. Schumann’s innovative music for the young and his revolutionary pedagogical ideas—mostly ignored in the literature—are proposed here as the foundation for liberal and artistic piano pedagogy for our time, inspiring music teachers and piano pedagogues to partake in research that combines music, pedagogy, aesthetics, and education.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-9703-7
ISBN-10: 1-4438-9703-5
Date of Publication: 01/09/2016
Pages / Size: 195 / A5
Price: £45.99


Professor Lia Laor is Dean of the Faculty of Education at Levinsky College of Education, Israel, and former Chair of the college’s Music Education Graduate Program. She received her BA in Piano Performance from the Rubin Academy of Music and her PhD from the Department of Musicology in the Faculty of the Arts at Tel Aviv University, Israel. During her graduate studies, she spent a one-year externship at Yale University’s Department of Music. She is a graduate and former Deputy Director of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, Jerusalem. As a musicologist and music educator, Professor Laor founded and served as Editor for the Hebrew periodical Mafteah, and coordinated the Curriculum Committee responsible for Israel’s New National Music Curriculum (2011). Her research and teaching interests include the history, philosophy, and methodology of music education; music teacher education; and the development of professional identity, as well as leadership among music educators.