This presentation takes up the challenge of Erica McWilliam's recent call for educators in general to focus on the importance of 'unlearning' as well as learning and thence applying this challenge to teaching in the Conservatoire. It does so by indicating what the value and limits are of traditiol pedagogy in the Conservatoire. For young people who will increasingly experience a 'portfolio career' they will need to 'unlearn and ' 'forget' certain practices processes and at the same time learn and embrace others. Getting the mix of learning and unlearning right will be more important for new generations of learners than merely sticking to time-honoured habits that mark a former stable social world. The implication is not that the Conservatoire should throw out long-term teaching techniques, but rather that it will need to be more open to innovative pedagogical possibilities if it is to work against the current trend of a shrinking clientele and audience for its expertise. The presentation provides a ratiole for a new conceptual architecture in teaching (mixing learning and unlearning) before moving to consider how the Conservatoire might experiment cautiously with this imperative. Examples are given of such experiments already happening within a Conservatoire in Australia.

Presented at Conferences

  • The Reflective Conservatoire Conference: Apprentices and Sorcerers (2006)

    London, UK