Challenging approaches to assessment of instrumental learning

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Over the past 15 years research has documented many assessment strategies for higher education. In music the emphasis has been on developing reliable assessment measures for instrumental performance such as multi-dimensional rubrics for practical examinations. While music education research has demonstrated novel assessment practices in primary and secondary settings, few studies report on innovative approaches to assessment in higher education. These include self-assessment in Concert Practice and individual lessons, peer assessment using well-developed criteria and student panels, reflective journals that help students to articulate their knowledge, and group work to develop teamwork and presentation skills. This review of music assessment literature challenges engrained attitudes towards assessment of classical instrumental music learning and encourages the embracing of innovative practices already trialled in higher music education such as initiating a broader range of evaluation tasks, engaging students in the development of assessment criteria, using technology and recording for self- and peer evaluation, and helping students to develop graduate attributes for the twenty-first century.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAssessment in music
Subtitle of host publicationFrom policy to practice
EditorsDon Lebler, Gemma Carey, Scott Harrison
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783319102740
ISBN (Print)9783319102733
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • Instrumental teaching
  • Instrumental learning
  • Peer assessment
  • self-assessment

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