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Bryan Stovell : a legacy of musical inspiration Moore, Adam Lawrence


Bryan Stovell is a highly acclaimed music teacher who has taught and mentored some of the most celebrated Canadian musicians in the world today. His list of prestigious former students includes Diana Krall, Ingrid Jensen, Christine Jensen, and David Gogo. This study is centered on the question: What aspects of Bryan Stovell’s life and work, if any, have enabled so many of his former students to become extraordinarily successful in the professional music world? To answer this question, I conducted a series of interviews with Stovell. When collecting and analyzing data, I used an adapted version of Rosenthal’s “gestalt-theoretical phenomenological concept of the dialectical interrelation between experience, memory and narration.” Rosenthal has used this method to distinguish between the “narrated life as related in conversation or written in present time and the lived-through life” (Rosenthal, 2006, p. 1). I augmented this method by including in my analysis accounts of Stovell’s work, character, and personality provided in interviews with Stovell’s former students. My analysis yielded five relatively distinct answers to the central research question: (1) Stovell’s musical competence and vast musical experiences allow him to inspire, motivate, and provide practical opportunities for his students. These practical opportunities include connecting his most promising students to the professional world. (2) Stovell’s practical pedagogy allows students to gain vital hands on experience and enables him to meet unique needs of individuals within the classroom environment. (3) A consistent, dedicated approach to education over the last 50 years has allowed Stovell to provide a productive learning environment for a relatively large group of students. Students gain a sense of safety and confidence from Stovell’s predictable approach, and his example inspires them to tackle their own development in a consistent and dedicated manner. (4) Stovell has a unique capability for developing authentic and productive relationships with students. These relationships allow him to meet the individual needs of his students and inspire them to connect with music in deeply personal ways. (5) Stovell’s extraordinary commitment to extra-curricular activities enables his students to gain authentic and practical musical experiences outside of the classroom.

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