Flute teachers need to be knowledgeable about a wide array of teaching strategies.Thus they are able to adapt their teaching to the individual needs of their students, consequently enabling them to fulfill the Slovenian State Music School Flute Curriculum objectives. In professional practice, there is a growing awareness that flute teachers’ knowledge and use of various teaching strategies is insufficient. Despite the widely acknowledged importance of playing a musical instrument, there is a gap in systematic research of the music studio flute instruction context.
In the literature review, we research the dichotomic discourse about the most widespread instrumental teaching model, the master – apprentice (Jørgensen, 2000). This model is usually described as traditional, transferring mostly the knowledge of the craft, displaying a problematic asymmetrical distribution of power between teacher and student, and lacking student initiative and independence. Findings and practices from research in music education and general education are seldom implemented into this model. On the other hand, Kennell (2002) and Bloom (1985) describe it as particularly effective and complex, especially in the instructional context of talent development.
In the theoretical part we highlight the »essentialist« and »instrumentalist« (Scripp, 2002) views of music education and establish a wide array of areas that benefit from playing a musical instrument, besides its significant aesthetic art value.
Contrary to the view of genetic determinism, we present playing a musical instrument as a complex, mostly mental skill. We limit the research of communication, motivation, metacognition and self-regulation and their interaction to the context of instrumental studio instruction. Various teaching stages are presented, emphasizing deliberate practice (Ericsson et al., 1993) as the fundamental way to peak achievement.
Based on the three-phased model of self-regulative learning, Jørgensen's (2004) practice classification and several memorization strategies are discussed. The many skills involved in refining concert performance are presented, as categorized by Clark et al. (2014 a): musical, non-musical, and psychological.
Musical talent is presented as a malleable and ever-changing concept (McPherson and Hallam, 2016), with genetic endowments being connected closer to physical than psychological characteristics (Ericsson et al, 1993). Several models of talent development are presented.
Teacher reflection is suggested as a possible path towards transforming and upgrading traditional individual instructional practices, leading to new teaching approaches.
Research of individual instrumental flute instruction (IIFI) in Slovenian music schools is based on descriptive and causally non-experimental quantitative method. The questionnaire was designed to explore flute teachers' beliefs about main factors and processes in the IIFI in order to analyze and consequently identify effective teaching strategies. There were 78 flute teachers from all Slovenian regions involved.
Findings show that the teachers identify perseverance and diligence as the most important factors in developing proficiency in flute playing. They recognize musical talent as slightly less influential. Statistically significant differences are shown in the frequency and manners of incorporating teaching stages in the instruction, as related to the number of teachers’ students who continued their flute studies at the high school level, teachers' opinion about the benefits of music competitions for the development of their talented students, and according to cumulative years of instruction. The use of recommended literature in the Slovenian State Flute Curriculum as opposed to literature chosen by the teacher, varied. Both types of literature varied according to the level of use in every grade and between grades.
Most often flute teachers recommend to students the following practicing strategies: playing music notation accurately in slow tempo, practicing parts of a piece, practicing in various rhythms, with metronome, and accelerating the performance tempo. There were statistically significant differences among flute teachers according to the type of music school they were teaching at (central or satellite). Teachers identified playing chunks of pieces by heart and memorized playing from different parts in the piece as the most effective memorization strategies. There were statistically significant differences among flute teachers according to the number of students in the studio, the number of students who continued their flute studies at the high school level, teachers' opinions about the benefits of music competitions for the development of their talented students and according to their students' achievements at the state and international flute competitions.
The use of performance preparation strategies was not unified and varied significantly among teachers. Teachers described parents as very important for the development of their students' flute proficiency. They reported some problems in the professional knowledge area, while they have not reported any significant problems in the field of collaborating with students and parents nor in the work environment. As the most significant contributing factors to their professional development they described: work experience, contacts and collaboration with other flute teachers, learning about new literature, flute music, and seminars. They identified seven features of an excellent flute teacher: ability to motivate, honesty and respect, patience, constant improvement, creativity, and consistency.
Most often statistically significant differences occurred according to teachers' opinions about the significance of music competitions for the development of their talented students, cumulative years of teaching and according to the number of students who continued their flute studies at the high school level.
The topics presented in the literature review and research supplement the music education theory in the field of individual instrumental flute instruction and display possibilities for implementation in professional practice. The analysis of the recommended and chosen literature as used by the flute teachers may serve as a foundation for future upgrades of the Slovenian State Flute Curriculum.
Guidelines for improvements of the IIFI processes in Slovenia and internationally can be made based on presented theoretical reasoning. Practice, memorization, and performance preparation strategies that were ranked as most effective by the teachers need to be further investigated. Effectiveness of these strategies for teaching music school students should be examined in order to contribute to future reference literature for flute and instrumental teachers.