This autoethnographic study examines how music learning is influenced by teachers and socio-cultural environments and how this influences not only our musical journeys but the way we view our lives, of the progress we have made, the goals in which we hope to achieve, and the way we perceive we will achieve them. This study explores how my musical background, understanding, learning, music-making abilities, and skills have shaped my present beliefs, attitudes and identity as a musician, educator, and researcher. Focusing on teacher pedagogy and practice, the study reveals how prevailing teacher-centred and didactic approaches to teaching impact the perspectives and experiences of learning, and how music teachers have the ability to motivate, and encourage, but also demoralise and dissuade the musical learner. This study highlights understanding of reflective and reflexive teacher practice and how this can unlock impactful pedagogical and relational attributes, articulating teacher development in becoming the better musician and teacher. This study revealed important insights into the way in which I now experience and understand music through a more insightful and deeper awareness of the influences and contexts that impact the way learners engage in music instruction.


autoethnography, experiential learning, imagery, situated learning, reflexivity

Author Bio(s)

Dorothy Li is an educator, performer, and researcher in music. She is currently a first year PhD student, in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, Australia. Her dissertation studies include the learning and teaching of imagery in music practice and performance. Correspondence regarding the article can be addressed directly to Dorothy Li: dorothyl2@student.unimelb.edu.au


I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisors, Dr. Leon de Bruin and Dr. Brad Merrick, for their insightful advice, guidance and support of my PhD study.

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