Undergraduate instrumental music education majors' approaches to score study in various musical contexts

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Author: Jeremy S. Lane
Date: Fall 2006
From: Journal of Research in Music Education(Vol. 54, Issue 3)
Publisher: MENC - The National Association for Music Education
Document Type: Article
Length: 5,881 words
Lexile Measure: 1350L

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This article is based on the author's doctoral dissertation, "A Basic Interpretive Analysis of Undergraduate Instrumental Music Education Majors' Approaches to Score Study in Varying Musical Contexts," accepted by Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, August 2004. Jererny S. Lane is an assistant professor of music education in the School of Music, University of South Carolina, 29208; e-mail: jlane@mozart.sc.edu. Copyright [c] 2006 by MENC: The National Association for Music Education.

Participants in the study (N = 21) engaged in two one-on-one interview sessions with the investigator. During each session, participants "thought out loud" as they studied one solo score and one full score of music by various composers. Interviews were conducted in an effort to assess preexisting knowledge of the music being studied and to assess participants' perceptions about score study. Results indicated three primary themes: (1) a lack of transfer of preexisting knowledge into certain score-study procedures, (2) an increase in specificity of verbal responses that seemed to correspond with education and experience, and (3) a lack of audible sound used during score preparation within full-score settings. Other findings suggest a contextual basis for score-study procedures and reflect changes in score-study patterns that seem influenced by experience and education.

When one considers the myriad skills necessary for effective conducting and the limited time available to teach those skills, it becomes clear that instructors must identify what will be dealt with in depth as well as what will receive less coverage. Leading educational scholars suggest that selection of curricular content should be based on major disciplinary ways of thinking or expertise as demonstrated by master practitioners (Duke, 2001; Gardner, 2000). Training students to master the skills chosen for study should prepare them to think about (and work with) the subject matter in ways similar to experts in the given field. In this sense, experts become the models that guide students through systematic instruction.

This expert-modeling approach seems well-suited to teaching conducting at the undergraduate level. The instructional setting of higher education implies the overall purpose of the curriculum--training students to perform, conduct, compose, teach, write, and think about music in the same way as professionals. Therefore, it seems logical to conclude that instruction designed to cultivate expertise in conducting should (1) consist of objectives based on what expert conductors do--the "habits and concepts that reflect the best contemporary thinking of the domain" (Gardner, 2000, p. 116)--and (2) correct student misconceptions and eliminate "habits and concepts ... inimical to the skilled practice of a discipline" (Gardner, 2000, p. 116).

The thoughts, ideas, and opinions of expert conductors have been the focus of a large body of published literature. Experts have provided their insights through numerous interviews and informal discussions (Bamberger, 1965; Casey, 1993; Ellis, 1994; Harris, 2001; Wagar, 1991; Williams, 1998). Conductors themselves have written about the art of conducting (Corporon, 1997; Schuller, 1997) and developed instructional .material (Battisti & Garafolo, 1990; Hunsberger & Ernst, 1992; Rudolf, 1994). Expert conductors have also participated in experimental research (Yarbrough, 1988, 2002) and qualitative case...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A162832474