an autoethnographic exploration, this study aimed to determine how I (the
researcher) could enhance the learning experience of tertiary jazz piano students while
focusing on self-reflection. Vygotsky’s (1978) zone of proximal development and
Csikszentmihalyi’s (1990) flow theory were used as the theoretical background of the study.
Based on the zone of proximal development, I aimed to enhance the students’ learning
during weekly piano lessons. Furthermore, based on flow, I intended to reflect on my own
experiences while teaching.
For the duration of the study, data collection took place at a South African university with
four first-year undergraduate jazz piano students. During weekly lessons, a reflective journal
was kept, recording personal flow experiences including an assessment rubric where
students’ progress could be measured. Results were analysed and sorted under four
elements of flow applicable to practical teaching – challenge/skill, clear goals, concentration
on the task at hand and unambiguous feedback – including personal flow experiences.
These flow dimensions served as a valuable guideline in adjusting teaching methods while
teaching jazz. The personal flow experiences relates to Bakker’s (2005) emotional contagion
theory where a teachers flow experience can cross over to a student, or a teachers mood
can influence the students’ learning experiences. I found that reflecting on my own flow
experiences enhances my confidence, motivation and concentration as a lecturer.
Additionally, based on the zone of proximal development, aural/video imitation and
scaffolding proved to be important concepts while teaching jazz piano.
Mini Dissertation (MMus)--University of Pretoria, 2019.