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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of  Music
July 28, 2017
Canadian Excellence

Dr. Heather Taves


Piano electro-acoustic improvisation project, research/teaching/technology in relation to cultural communities. (NUMUS Piano Summit, March 19-20, 2011. Public Performance). Piano performance and teaching in Canadian communities generally follows one of two approaches. The first is product-oriented and often competitive. It is characterized by the use of standardized method books and tests, a "core" repertoire of standards (whether classical or popular), and acoustic modern pianos or electronic keyboards. Community events include competitions with set repertoire and rules. Entrance into the professional music industry (whether classical or popular) tends to follow set, traditional paths. The second is process- oriented and exploratory. It is characterized by the use of improvisation, creative projects, study of social/historical context, and a wide variety of keyboards and live software. Community events include collaborations with diverse cultural communities in non-traditional venues. An independent and entrepreneurial approach is taken towards entrance into the music industry, with the industry itself called into question as boundaries between art forms are crossed.

Piano performance and teaching research at WLU investigates the relationship between these two approaches. We are creating new models that emphasize the development of high virtuosity and craft in order to carry out an intentionally imperfect, open-ended, respectful exploration of individual and community identity across cultural boundaries. This team is working at the neighbourhood community level locally, and presenting and exchanging ideas internationally. )