Abstract

The purpose of this study is to expand understanding about how adult music students seek and create personal and social meaning. This narrative inquiry of an adult beginning-piano student, Mr. K, who began to learn to play the piano at the age of 56, illuminates how an adult piano student connects his experience of learning music and his life experience as an 18-wheeler truck driver. This study also examines how storytelling helped the teller find motivation and meaning for his learning. Data included interviews focused on Mr. K’s life story, his self-filmed videos of piano practicing in his truck cab, his journal describing his practice, and the researcher’s journal written after Mr. K’s piano lessons. Following data generation, the researcher identified several emergent themes reflecting Mr. K’s perceptions of his music learning experience: (a) motivation and self-directed learning, (b) life experience as a resource for learning, and (c) the power of storytelling. This study suggests that students of any age and in any setting, like this adult piano student, may have their own wellspring(s) of musical experience that connect past, present, and future learning.

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