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A Handful of Considerations: Perspectives on Left-handedness in Violin Playing and Violin Pedagogy
Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Department of Music Education.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The topic of this study is left-handedness as a phenomenon in violin playing and classical violin pedagogy. The aim of the study is to investigate what kind of knowledge and approaches are crucial for taking left-handedness into account when teaching left-handed violinists in the normatively right-handed violin pedagogy.

The body of knowledge arises from literature on hemispheric lateralization, left-handedness, attributes of violin playing, and earlier studies on hand-preference and musical performance, hemispheric adaptations to musical training, and children’s conceptions of left and right. A background-study was carried out on left-handedness in guitar playing.

The study employs abductive reasoning, has an auto-ethnographic thread and draws on the hermeneutical epistemology. The theoretical framework rests on the cultural-psychological perspective on music education.

The data was collected in two parts using qualitative ethnography-inspired methods. First qualitative thematic interview was used for gathering strategically sampled data from expert respondents on violin playing, pedagogy and violin-making. Secondly non-participant observation and follow-up interview was used for examining a beginner violin lesson.

The findings of the study suggest that violin pedagogues need knowledge of the lateralization effects on violin playing and methodological understanding for pupils’ handedness and maturity of motor development. The data suggests that left-handedness is not a disadvantage in violin playing when provided with education that recognizes it. Reversed violin playing is considered as an alternative for strongly left-handed pupils. The data shows that violin education needs open discussion on left-handedness in terms of prejudices in orchestras, and raised awareness on the availability of left-handed instruments. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 63 p.
Keyword [en]
violin, pedagogy, left-handedness, lateralization, instrument, music education, cultural psychology
Keyword [sv]
violin, pedagogik, vänsterhänthet, lateralitet, instrument, musikpedagogik, kulturpsykologi
National Category
Cultural Studies Music Pedagogy
URN: urn:nbn:se:kmh:diva-1913OAI: diva2:823288
Educational program
Masterprogram i musikpedagogik
Available from: 2015-06-23 Created: 2015-06-18 Last updated: 2015-06-23Bibliographically approved

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