Music Teacher Knowledge: An Examination of the Intersections Between Instrumental Music Teaching and Conducting.
Author(s)Forrester, Sommer H.
Contributor(s)Fitzpatrick, Kate Rebecca
Alston, Chandra L.
Conway, Colleen M.
McCarthy, Marie F.
Haithcock, Michael L.
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AbstractThe purpose of this study was to examine the complexities of instrumental music teacher knowledge and explore how participants describe the intersections between instrumental music teaching and conducting. The key research question guiding this study was: How do high school instrumental music teachers describe the intersections between instrumental music teaching and conducting? Sub questions include (a) What key experiences do instrumental music teachers describe as being most meaningful to their development as teachers and conductors? (b) Which aspects of practice do instrumental music teachers perceive and describe as being related to the intersection between instrumental music teaching and their development as conductors, and (c) What dilemmas of practice do instrumental music teachers perceive and describe as being related to the intersection between instrumental music teaching and their development as conductors? This study focused on the participants??? (N = 4) perceptions and descriptions of the intersections between instrumental music teaching and conducting. A multiple case study design (Stake, 2006) was used to examine the commonalities and unique aspects across cases. Sources of data included: participant interviews, one participant focus group, one observation of each of the participants conducting and teaching their high school ensembles, and two stimulated recall events with each participant using previously recorded conducting footage. The central finding of this study suggests that the practice of instrumental music teaching demands a specialized form of knowledge that reflects the integration of, rather than the intersection between, both teaching and conducting. This specialized form of knowledge informs the participants??? in-the-moment decision-making, judgments, and communication with students and the ensemble as a whole. The dilemmas of practice related to instrumental music teaching and conducting include the participants??? ability to listen, assess, and respond to sound in the moment, and their ability to apply powerful lessons and experiences from mentor teachers and/or professional role models to their specific teaching context. The findings of this study suggest implications for music teacher education and conducting education, specifically in the areas of devising professional development opportunities that are systematic, multilevel, and multifaceted, and that mirror the integrated nature of teaching and conducting that occurs in practice.