Research drop out (Gembris & Davidson, 2011; Hallam,

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Research on successful music
teachers has found three broad categories of qualities that relate to their
success: internal qualities, relating to others, and social/group management
(Pembrook & Craig, 2002, from Hallam role of affect). Internal qualities
include emotional stability,

Affective outcomes depend to the
great extent on quality and nature of the teaching. Many music teachers tend to
provide teacher-dominated lessons and critically focused feedback, which
undermines student motivation and determination, as well as self-regulation(Hallam, n.d., 1998). Whereas praise, which is still
little used in music lessons, enhance positive affect, motivation, and result
in increased effort and improved achievement (Hallam, n.d.). Teacher should also be
sensitive to student personality characteristics, which determine the way
student will perceive teacher’s behaviors (Hallam, n.d.).

Teacher is considered as one of
the most influential besides other environmental catalysts such as the parents
not only because of the musical abilities they transmit to the student but also
because they influence student’s musical tastes and values, as well as type of
motivation (Gembris & Davidson, 2011). Some research suggests first
teacher being of a crucial influence (Davidson et al., 1998, from Gembris &
Davidson). High-achieving students described their first instrumental teachers
as friendly, entertaining, proficient musicians, when low-achieving students
reported their teachers being unfriendly and incompetent. Later, with
increasing age, higher achievers started to distinguish these abilities from
professional qualities, and students who could not distinguish were those who
dropped out. As the demand of teacher’s professional qualities increase with
developmental stage, the importance of student-teacher relationship remains of
same importance (McPherson, Davidson, & Evans, 2016). Pupils who learn in positive,
enjoyable and free from anxiety atmosphere achieve outstanding results in their
playing. Meanwhile, those pupils who report negative atmosphere and anxiety are
those who drop out (Gembris & Davidson, 2011; Hallam, 2010; McPherson
et al., 2016).
“This highlights the importance of emotional climate that surrounds musical
experiences” (Gembris & Davidson, 2011, p. 23).

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In music teaching, both teacher’s
and also researcher’s attention is focused mainly on teaching knowledge and
skills (Hallam, n.d.). In general, it is difficult
to investigate individual music lessons, as it is highly hidden from outsider’s
view. Thus, it is still known relatively little about the ways instrumental tutors
interact with their students (Hallam, 1998). However, the level of
expertise which person is able to attain is proved to be highly influenced by
the tutor-student relationship (Howe & Sloboda, 1991, from Hallam,
teacher-pupil relations).

Despite the high efforts to find relations between developmental
theories and affective influences on it, no direct relations were found.
No potential links between
developmental theories and importance of emotional environment were recorded
(Erikson, Piaget, Hargreaves & Galton, Swanwick & Tillman). Piaget
acknowledges affect influence in cognitive development, however neither he nor
his followers expand on it. Hargreaves and Galton focus mainly on musical/artistic
abilities by taking into account cognitive and behavioral processes only.
However, “most researchers agree that the development of musical abilities is
based on the interaction between innate capacities and environment. Depending
on environmental conditions, the relative importance of innate differences changes”
(Gembris & Davidson, 2011, p. 18). Environmental conditions
include sociocultural systems, family, educational environment and teacher, and
we are now going to focus on the latter one – teacher and its influence on a student’s

Most of the research regarding
the emotions in music domain has mainly focused on emotional responses towards
music. These includes aesthetic judgement and response, as well as style preferences
(Lamont, 2006, (from Hargreaves and Lamont)), music for social bonding (Disanayake,
2000 (from Hargreaves and Lamont)), friendship and relationship, mood
regulation (Trehub 2016 (from Hargreaves and Lamont)), etc. In music
performance field, research mainly focused on negative emotions when
performing, in particular on stress, stage fright and music performance anxiety
(e. g., Biasutti & Concina, 2014; Kenny 2011). No research was found that
looked at emotion role during practice sessions and lessons.

Instrumental/Singing Lesson and Emotions

Although it is clear that
teachers experience various emotions, and that those affect students and their
learning experiences and processes, the linkages in between are still more
speculative and there still are so many gaps that needs to be addressed. Those
are not going to be discussed in this essay, as it is of different focus and
has limited space. However, it is important to acknowledge few unresearched
gaps. First, emotions of a
teacher should affect students in different ways depending on their developmental
stage. Second, the subject matter – are same teacher’s emotions
appropriate for, for example, physics, mathematics and drama or music
performance lessons? The specific subject matter and different age of a student
forms different context and cultural background for a lesson. In the next
section, these issues are addressed within frames of an individual
instrumental/singing lessons.

Before closing this section on
teachers’ emotions and their influence on students, it is important to
acknowledge limitations of these studies. Most of them used semi structured
interviews, which are great for investigating subjective emotional experiences
and exploring its role. However, it does not assess physiological changes in a
human and does not capture emotional expressions. Future research aside to
self-report measures could also include physiological measures and observations
(Mesquita et al., 1997(from
Sutton & Wheatley, 2003)). Moreover, interviews grasp only those emotional
experiences that were strong enough to be remembered and recalled, thus
excludes a possibility to capture the role of everyday emotions. To better
understand emotions’ role in teaching, emotion diaries and experience sampling
methodology technique could be used (Sutton et al., 2003 (from Sutton & Wheatley, 2003)).
Finally, only few studies reviewed merely touches on the role of culture and
context of emotions, which are so crucial for emotion, its expression and

A research by Perry et al. (2002,
(from Sutton & Wheatley, 2003)) found that many elementary school age
children believe that their errors made their teachers unhappy. This belief was
reduced significantly with a self-regulated learning intervention, as well as a choice of easier
task. When investigating positive emotions, teachers expressing caring
were more valued by students and resulted in their higher motivation (Wong and
Dornbusch, 2000 (from Sutton & Wheatley, 2003)). Finally, teacher’s
expression of the enjoyment, enthusiasm and humor may influence student’s goal
orientation and task avoidance behaviors (Sutton & Wheatley, 2003). For example, Turner et al.
(2002, (from Sutton & Wheatley, 2003)) found that teacher’s humor was a
characteristic of low avoidance and high mastery classrooms.

When thinking from student’s
perspective, it is even harder to investigate how teacher’s experiencing
emotions affect and influence student and their learning process. Thus, there
is even less research looking to teachers’ emotions through this angle.
However, from the research we know that, if students could, they would forbid
teachers yelling at them, as it made them feel ashamed, small, embarrassed,
etc. (Thomas and Montomery, 1998 (from Sutton & Wheatley, 2003)). Interestingly,
though, teacher’s anger can also result in positive outcomes. In particular,
when teacher express anger for student failures resulted from the lack of
effort – such attribution is more motivationally adaptive because a reason for
failure is easily controllable (when compared to the lack of ability) (Weiner,
2000 (from Sutton & Wheatley, 2003)). Therefore, for example, teacher’s
anger towards student’s failure might result in more positive results than
expression of pity or sympathy attributed to the lack of ability (Clark and
Artiles, 2000 (from Sutton & Wheatley, 2003)).

Emotions are of great importance
when considering teacher’s motivation and its components. First, negative
emotions reduce intrinsic motivation as it’s incompatible with enjoyment, which
is a key experience of intrinsic motivation (Pekrun, Goetz, Titz, & Perry, 2002). Emotional state also highly influences
the choice of attribution (Weiner, 2000 (from Sutton & Wheatley, 2003)).
For example, when teacher is angry, he will think a passive student is lazy,
whereas if teacher is sad, he might think the same student is tired and will
give an easier task. Moreover, according to Bandura (1997, (from Sutton &
Wheatley, 2003)) judgements on individual’s self-efficacy is influenced by
emotions. It was proved in a study, where experimentally induced positive
emotions enhanced perceived self-efficacy, whereas negative emotions diminished
it (Sutton & Wheatley, 2003). Finally, teachers’ goals are
strongly affected by emotions in several ways. First, more positive emotions
encourage to choose more challenging goal. Second, teacher is more likely to
choose goal that results in experiencing positive emotions in teaching. Third,
teacher experiencing more negative emotions is more likely to adopt performance
and avoidance goals, whereas teacher with more positive emotions will adopt
mastery and approach goals, which are shown to be much more beneficial for
motivation (Sutton & Wheatley, 2003). These all findings on
motivation gives a notion, that a teacher who tends to be unhappy more often,
will be less motivated to teach.

Teacher’s thinking, problem
solving and categorising may also be influenced by emotions. When experiencing
positive emotions, people are more likely to categorise things favourably (Isen,
1993 (from Sutton & Wheatley, 2003)). So a happy teacher might categorise
same student as “trying hard but slow” while an unhappy teacher – as “lazy”,
which will then result in different treatment of that student (Sutton & Wheatley, 2003). Moreover, more positive
emotions manifest more creative thinking, which will result in, for example,
better problem solving, greater variety of learning/teaching strategies, etc.
(Fredrickson and Branigan, 2001, (from Sutton & Wheatley, 2003)).

Negative emotions attract and
direct attention to its source (Fredrickson 2001 (my dis proposal), or Derryberry
and Tucker, 1994 (from Sutton & Wheatley, 2003)). So, for example, student’s
behaviour that evokes negative emotions in teacher, directs his attention from
the lesson’s goals towards the misbehaviour. Also, emotions can affect memory
(Parrott and Spackman, 2000 (from Sutton & Wheatley, 2003)): emotional
stimuli are often remembered better than unemotional stimuli, intense emotions
improve memory for central details but diminish for the background, and when
retrieving memorised information, it will often come back together with that
particular emotion. For example, a pessimistic teacher will tend to remember
and focus mostly on negative incidents and behaviours of his students’.
Moreover, working memory may be reduced by anxiety (Eysenck and Calco, 1992
(from Sutton & Wheatley, 2003)).

Understanding of positive and
negative emotions, their variety and reasons is important, as they have
influence on such cognitive abilities of teachers’ as attention, memory,
problem solving, categorising, as well as motivation, which all, as a result,
affect teaching quality and influence learning processes and experiences in
students. How those cognitive and motivational processes are affected by
emotion will now be discussed in more detail.

Despite the variety of possible
reasons of why teachers experience different emotions in their work settings,
it is worth introducing the most common positive and negative emotions and
reasons for them to arise. Among the positive ones, teachers experience love
and caring for students, joy (in relationship with children) and satisfaction
(particularly when noticing students’ improvement), pride, pleasure (children
growth) and excitement (unpredictability of teaching, more common for beginning
teachers). The parallel to those are negative emotions, which in teaching are
most often experienced as anger and frustration (arise for many reasons related
to goal incongruence, i. e. misbehaviour, laziness, etc., also using “fake
anger” to manage students), shame (mostly when losing one’s temper), anxiety
(concerns mostly beginning teachers), helplessness (limits to teacher’s
efficacy), guilt (when feeling not doing enough and misleading personal
expectations), and sad (when teacher thinks problem is beyond teacher’s
controlled settings).

We know, that teachers in their
work experience a rich diversity of positive and negative emotions (Sutton & Wheatley, 2003). It is difficult to tell
reasons for experienced emotions, as we know from Lazarus (2000) appraisal theory that same
event can evoke completely different emotions in different people, depending on
several factors. First is goal relevance – how that event or issue touches on
personal goal. Second factor is goal congruence or incongruence – event’s
congruence with the personal goal evokes positive emotions, and incongruence
evokes negative. And third aspect of appraisal is ego-involvement. For example,
when experiencing anger, one’s self- or social-esteem is assaulted, whereas in
pride, one’s self- or social-esteem is enhanced. From here stems Lazarus’s (2000) conclusion that each emotion
has core relational themes, which describes harms and benefits of events in
relation to personal goals. The role of culture in emotions is also important
in understanding why people experience different emotional response to same
events, and appraisal is often used to examine it. This explains why, for
example, one teacher to student’s refusal to do the task will react with anger
accepting this as offence, while other teacher to same student’s behaviour will
react with sadness, thinking they are not able to enthuse student in the task.

Psychologists now recognise that
emotions are one of three fundamental processes of mental operations, along
with cognition and motivation (Mayer et al., 2000 (Sutton & Wheatley,
2003)). Therefore, understanding emotions of teachers’ is substantial when
investigating teachers and teaching, and trying to enhance teaching and
learning processes and experiences (Sutton & Wheatley, 2003). However, research on
teachers’ mainly focus on cognitive processes (Calderhead, 1996 (Sutton &
Wheatley, 2003)), and despite the enormous growth of research in emotions since
around 1980’s, there is very little work regarding emotions of teachers.
Therefore, in this section, some findings are from research on teachers and
some is tailored from research on general human emotional processes.

“A theory of emotion is, in effect, a theory of how
motivation and cognition produce emotions in adaptive relevant encounters.” Lazarus


Emotions in Teachers

This essay is going to consider
teacher’s emotional intelligence’s role in individual instrumental/singing
lessons, and its potential influence on child and adolescent student. Although
emotional intelligence’s (EI) role is widely acknowledged in educational
domain, limited research is available in terms of teacher’s EI, and no research
was found specifically on instrumental/singing teaching. Therefore, in order to
consider its potential importance in music performance education, it is first
necessary to discuss current research in emotions and its role in teaching
settings. This all
information is then integrated into individual instrumental/singing lesson’s
settings, and, as there is no research on it, potential influences are
discussed. Then, EI is introduced, and its current and potential benefits
towards teaching are considered. Finally, a case study is developed to
investigate previous findings from literature and whether those may be
confirmed by a small sample
study. Those findings are then discussed and future research is


Categories: Music


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