USF University of South Florida College of The Arts School of Music
 
  Center for Music Education Research
 
 
 
 

Abstracts (updated on January 24, 2017)

Suncoast Music Education Research Symposium XI

February 1-4, 2017


Lightning Talks



Jacob Berglin (Northwestern University)

Working with Trans* Students as a Humane Act

 

This philosophical presentation would take a slightly different turn than other work advocating for the inclusion of transgender musicians in the classroom, which has focused on qualitative reports of student experiences (Nichols, 2012), or on advice for practitioners. Incorporating Nodding’s Ethic of Care as well as philosophical literature about “hospitality,” I suggest that the path for a music educator to claim that he/she is “student centered” is to allow full expression of gender identity in the classroom. Additionally, while incorporating gender non-conforming students into current choral classrooms is important, the principle of hospitality suggests that guests change the space in the act of being accepted by the host. This can and should be true about choral spaces, as the “traditional” non-acceptance of transgender students might point out how our spaces need to change, and shed light on how we might also be neglecting our cisgender students. Some common reactions to (and arguments against) adapting a classroom for gender non-conforming students are addressed and examined as nothing more than defense mechanisms to hide discomfort at the idea of accepting transgender students, or simply fear of the change that accepting them might require. Vocal health is cited as a primary concern, for instance, when educators are reticent toward adapting a choral music program for transgender students. However, those same educators might make decisions that compromise the vocal health of a cisgender student – asking a good music reader to sing in the alto section when she would be better served, vocally, by singing in the soprano section. Through this, and other examples, I hope to suggest that educators reconsider their claims to being “humane” or “student-centered” while disallowing those students to express themselves fully in the classroom.

 

 

Christian Bernhard (State University of New York—Fredonia)

Contemplative practices in music teacher education

 

Stress and burnout among university music education majors have been documented for more than 30 years (e.g., Conway, Micheel-Mays, & Micheel-Mays, 2005; Hamann & Daugherty, 1985). Researchers suggest that undergraduate majors, in particular, may suffer from emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and lack of perceived personal accomplishment, often caused by issues such as sleep deprivation, challenges with personal relationships, and work overload (Author, 2010; Gold, Bachelor, & Michael, 1989). At the same time, current trends in online search capabilities, social media, and other forms of digital communication can create excessive “noise” and anxiety among users (Hall, 2015), which often further a general trend toward human isolation and lack of trust (Sander & Putnam, 2010). As a response to these challenges, the notion of contemplative practices is gaining support, in both the general population and in higher education (Mindfulness and Health, 2016). Contemplative practices focus on student reflection and introspection in an attempt to improve academic problem solving and understanding, as well as personal connection, compassion, and awareness (Barbezat & Bush, 2014). They promote a relaxed and expansive mode in which playfulness, humor, and creativity are nurtured (Pasricha, 2016), and can lead to practical knowledge, patience, openmindedness, independence of thought, empathy, and emotional balance (Reinecke, 2010). The purpose of this lightning talk is to briefly review relevant research and best practices regarding the use of contemplative practices, including mindfulness meditation, reading and writing, movement, and listening, in an effort to apply findings to music teacher education.

 

 

Erica Desaulniers (Northwestern University)

Crossing the moat: Making musical connections with the community

 

The act of bridging school music with the surrounding community has resulted in great things for the field of music education. It has increased awareness and support for music programs, afforded a great deal of variety in curriculum, and created tremendous school­wide enthusiasm. Although beneficial, when community­based activities are not contextually based, sustainability is questionable. This presentation aims to demonstrate how place­based pedagogy can serve as a springboard for developing a clearer understanding of what it means to be connected with others in a specific place. In place­based pedagogy, the development of activities and events is approached not with a process of carrying prescribed objectives to the places in the community, but bringing knowledge and understanding from the community to the process of developing those objectives. I show how we can use the tools gathered from studying place to our natural settings and the ways in which threads of ecoliteracy and ecomusicology can be stitched with music teaching. In examining ecoliteracy, we strengthen bonds in working with shared environmental space and create ties with a greater likelihood to be carried on even once our present interactions cease. Similarly, yet specific to music, in ecomusicology we shift thought from making musical contributions solely to the community towards contributing to both the community and the natural environment. I intend to illustrate how we can create more meaningful and sustainable ties with our neighbors based upon these principles. Sample activity plans will be reviewed at each phase of this journey.

 

 

Marshall Haning (University of Florida) and Elizabeth Tracy (Case Western Reserve University)

Characteristics of secondary nonperformance music courses

 

As music educators continue to explore ways to engage the approximately 80% of students who do not elect to participate in secondary performance ensembles, an important alternative avenue for curriculum design may be provided by music courses that do not include public performance as a primary outcome. At this time, however, very little research has been conducted to provide information about this type of music course design. Accordingly, the purpose of this collective case study was to investigate the characteristics of secondary nonperformance music courses and to discover incentives and barriers related to their design and implementation. Participants in this study were three secondary music teachers currently teaching one or more music courses that did not include public performance as a primary course goal. Data sources for this study included observations of the designated courses, documents and artifacts collected during these observations, individual participant interviews, and a combined focus group interview. All data were analyzed using an iterative open coding scheme. Results indicated that although teachers and students believed that secondary nonperformance courses provide substantial benefits to students and the broader school community, important barriers limited teachers’ ability to design and implement these courses. Nonperformance courses were often implemented to achieve administrative goals rather than musical or educational objectives. In addition, the subject matter and design of these courses were often driven by the interests and capabilities of specific teachers rather than by student or program needs. Implications for music education and music teacher education are discussed.

 

 

Alena Holmes (University of Wisconsin—Whitewater)

An examination of the relationships among home musical environment, music aptitude and early audiation achievement of pre-school and kindergarten students

 

Early childhood is considered a critical time period for later musical development. Gordon (2003) states that learning occurring within the first five years of life forms the basis for all future educational development. He also explains that ample opportunities for unstructured and structured activities in early childhood expand a child’s capacity in later life when formal instruction begins. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the home musical environments and parental involvement and to determine if selected factors (home musical environment, musical education of parents, age, gender of child) were predictive of musical potential in young children. This study is currently in progress. A total of 56 preschool and kindergarten children age four to five years old and their parents or primary caregivers have been participating in the study. The parents/caregivers completed a survey - “Parents’ Use of Music with Preschool Students” originally developed by Adrienne Wills (2011). The survey elicited the following information from the subjects: demographics, the nature of the home musical environments, parent/caregiver musical background and their attitudes about music for preschool children. Music potential has been assessed using: (1) Audie Test developed by Edwin Gordon (1989) and T- EAA (Test of Early Audiation Achievement) developed by Maria Runfola (2015). The preliminary results indicate a positive relationship between the home musical environment variables and the music aptitude scores. Preliminary results also indicate that the age of the child and parental involvement were predictive of developmental music aptitude and high scores on early audiation achievement.

 

 

Daniel Johnson (University of North Carolina—Wilmington)

Listening lesson: How culture mediates music listening experiences

 

Music is a universal human experience and an integral part of every culture on Earth. It plays a meaningful role in both human society and wellbeing, yet understanding music listening cognitively and affectively is complex challenge. By considering listeners’ cultural background, we may learn lessons about the music listening experience and its human connections. By exploring the ways listeners understand music and naturally categorize musical examples, I have investigated the influence of culture on listening experiences. Previously, researchers have found evidence of common thinking skills while people from different cultures listening to music. Other scholars have distinguished more specific factors that influence listeners’ experiences on individual, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural levels. For this study, I used a modified Q-sort methodology and qualitative data to investigate how listeners conceptualized a set of fifteen music listening examples. With the cooperation of their music teachers, I selected a balanced set of 100 fifth-grade (10- to 11-year-old) students to provide data for this study. They represented: Germany, Costa Rica, China, and the United States. Preliminary data analysis indicates a focus on timbre as the most prominent musical element. Extra-musical associations and affective responses seem dependent on listeners’ cultural background and experience. I will complete the data analysis before the end of 2016. Results are expected to reveal more specific trends in music listening with socio-cultural importance. Implications of this investigation include learning lessons about the complex act of music listening, which may allow for more culturally responsive and inclusive music education.

 

 

Sara Jones (University of Massachusetts—Amherst)

The teaching artist as music educator

 

Many schools utilize teaching artists to supplement existing music programs or to serve as instructors when there is no music specialist on staff (Saraniero, n.d.). There is often no certification program or degree necessary for teaching artists to gain entry to school music programs, and few of them have any experience in teaching in the classroom setting. As a result, many teaching artists face difficulties in the classroom, including building curriculum, assessing student learning, working within learning standards, collaborating with teachers, and classroom management (Waldorf, 2002). In this lightning talk, I discuss my ongoing research on teaching artists in a community- school music partnership, note the benefits and challenges of this non-traditional teaching model, and discuss the role of music teacher educators in preparing both licensed music educators and teaching artists for classroom teaching.

 

 

Sangmi Kang (University of Florida) and Hyesoo Yoo (Virginia Tech)

Music teachers’ work engagement and psychological needs as predictors of their wellbeing

 

The purpose of this study was to investigate music teachers’ work engagement and psychological needs as predictors of their wellbeing. Wellbeing, referring to human optimal condition, was adopted from the Self Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci, 2001). After providing informed consent, participants (N = 226) complete a survey that consists of the Music Teacher Engagement Scale (MTES, modified from Schaufeli, Bakker, & Salanova, 2003), the Music Teachers’ Psychological Need Measure (MTPNM, modified from Johnston & Finney, 2010), the Subjective Well-Being Inventory (Sell & Nagpal, 1992), and demographic information. The Music Teacher Engagement Scale is comprised of three sub-factors: Vigor, Dedication, and Absorption. The Music Teachers’ Psychological Need Measure consists of three sub-factors: Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness. These six sub-factors served as independent variables to see if sub-factors independently predict music teachers’ wellbeing. The Subjective Well-Being Inventory served as an outcome variable. Results indicated that, Competence, followed by Relatedness, Vigor and Dedication, was the strongest predictor of music teachers’ well-being. When comparing genders, Relatedness, followed by Vigor, Competence, and Dedication, was the strongest predictor for male music teachers; Competence, followed by Relatedness was the strongest predictor for female music teachers. Based on years of teaching experiences, different patterns appeared. For the music teachers of younger generation (0~9 years) and older generations (30+ years), Relatedness was the stronger predictor of well-being. However, teachers who had 10 to 29 years of experiences, various variables were determined as strong predictors: Competence and Vigor (10~19 years); Competence, Dedication, Vigor, and Absorption (20~29 years).

 

 

Karen Koner (California State University—Stanislaus) and Wendy Matthews (Wayne State University)

Work environment and job satisfaction of currently employed K-12 music teachers in the United States

 

Over the past two decades, education in the United States has experienced an extraordinary amount of attention and criticism. The focus of this exploratory study was to examine K-12 music educators in the United States regarding their (a) professional background, (b) classroom teaching responsibilities, and (c) job satisfaction. Participants included seven thousand five hundred and twenty (N = 7,520) currently employed music teachers who were registered members of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME ) during the 2015-2016 school year. The respondents to the questionnaire developed for this study ranged from 22-70 years old with 91% indicating they were Caucasian. Of those reporting gender, 38% were male and 62% female. Participants stated that they taught primarily in the public schools (85%) in a variety of contexts and instructed an average of 101-200 students a day. Additionally, teachers indicated they participate in a variety of professional development activities to enhance their classroom teaching: 58% hold a Master of Music degree, 32% earned additional certifications, and 82% attend professional conferences. On average, participants state they are satisfied with their current teaching positions indicating the most satisfying reason was connecting with students musically. Our findings reflect the current state of music teachers in the United States and provide a description of the work environment and satisfaction with their present employment. Results of this study can serve to aid in music education advocacy, designing professional development, and enhance the effectiveness of music teacher education programs.

 

 

Amanda McClintock (Northwestern University)

Teach as though they will: A philosophical discussion of ability-oriented teaching in music education

 

The purpose of this lightening talk is to advocate for an ability-oriented approach to teaching in

music education. Much of the research examining music and individuals with disabilities is from a therapeutic perspective, essentially using music to “fix” a problem with an individual. My intent is not to devalue this work but to propose that music education is uniquely poised to provide a space where disability is not what defines the musical experience. It is the music educator’s responsibility to facilitate experiences that embrace ability and musicality. Each student is recognized as a person first without a qualifying medical diagnosis. A chapter from the Oxford Handbook of Medical Ethnomusicology (Koen, Bakan, Kobylarz, Morgan, Goff, Kahn, & Bakan, 2008) identifies this as personhood-consciousness. Curriculum is thus developed that identifies and builds on students’ strengths. Recent autism research has explored practical, psychological and neurological implications of harnessing the potential of ability (Foss-Feig, McGugin, Gauthier, Mash, Ventola, & Cascio, 2016; Treffert, 2009; Grandin & Duffy, 2004). For music education, this recognition of ability honors the belief that all students are innately creative, musical beings. Participatory, student-centered curriculum builds a community that is open and accepting of all individuals. At the heart of this discussion is a philosophical mindset that assumes that a student can rather than anticipating that she or he cannot. An ability-oriented approach not only benefits individuals with physical and cognitive difference it recognizes the right of all individuals to engage with music without preconceived limitations of potential.

 

 

Sarah Morrison (Appleby College, Canada) and Charlene Pauls (The Oakville Children’s Choir, Canada)

Voices for change:  Exploring youth self-expression and inclusion in community singing

 

High-level auditioned children’s choirs have historically been exclusive organizations for musically gifted young people. Is there room for a more inclusive musical environment to include children of a broader spectrum of abilities? This study explores a two-fold model for inclusion as developed within the Oakville Children’s Choir (OCC). First, the OCC has fostered a connection with the largest children’s treatment facility in Ontario, ErinoakKids Centre (EOK), through active involvement of choristers and artistic staff in their music therapy program. Second is the development of “All Voices Together” (AVT), a choir that nurtures musical expression regardless of challenges or experience. In this group, rehearsals prioritize the process of learning through collaborative composition, rather than more traditional performance goals. For the purpose of this study, the community partnerships and choral programs were analyzed through a case study framework involving semi-structured interviews with the conductors, music therapists, and singers involved in the programs. Interviews took place over a two-year period and were transcribed and coded for emerging themes. Additional sources of study data included video recordings of two major collaborative performances, researcher journals, and email exchanges with singers throughout the program development. The data were analyzed according to three dimensions that represented aspects of the collaborative program design; social engagement, musical growth, and collaboration. Through this study, we hope to foster further discussion on how our work as choral organizations can transform lives and foster musical growth for young people of all abilities.

 

 

Corin Overland (University of Miami)

New modes and models of for-profit music education: Where do we fit in with the “School of Rock”?

 

Students have many ways to satisfy their musical curiosities beyond the classroom, provided they have access and the financial means to do so. Numerous private, philanthropic, and professional enterprises operate jointly with the public schools, providing students a thriving ecosystem of opportunities for musical learning. Over the last decade, a new player has entered this arena, encouraged by unmet demand for instruction in popular and contemporary music. These enterprises break with traditional models of one-on-one lesson instruction in the Euro-classic canon, instead selling informal, peer and group learning experiences in rock, blues, EDM, reggae, or other contemporary genres. Their stated philosophy is chiefly to recreate the way contemporary music is practiced in the private studio and popular music world. To that end, students play high-powered live performances in professional venues with headliner musicians, professional lighting, and enthusiastic crowds—undeniably powerful motivation for a typical adolescent bass player. This combination of hands-on learning and popular music has proven popular and profitable, and franchises featuring names like School of Rock and Modern Music School have become a multi-million-dollar industry serving twenty thousand students across seventeen countries. While these businesses provide a new and innovative way for young people to engage musically, it is unclear how they will intersect with current models of music education, particularly regarding matters of content and equality within disadvantaged populations. This presentation provides an introduction to the phenomenon of private popular music education and discusses how it stands to influence the overall ecosystem of music education.

 

 

Michael Palmer (Ball State University)

Intuition, the mysterious and insightful dimension of creative thought: An analysis of contemporary understanding of intuition in creative musical practices

 

Creativity is one of the capacities and potentials unique to the human species. The creation of music, as process and its resulting products, draws upon unconscious and conscious processing of musical thoughts. Within the unconscious realm, the role of the tacit dimension or intuition is not clearly understood; yet it appears to play a significant role in generating musical ideas and solving musical problems. People engaged in creative music-making utilize this unconscious dimension of experience when composing, improvising, or performing musical works. It serves as a source of inspiration and is a connection to the emotional dimension of the human mind. Researchers in creativity often describe intuition as an important element in the incubation period of creative thought. This presentation examines contemporary understandings, scholarship, and questions regarding the role intuition plays in creative music making and problem solving. After providing a working definition and explanation of intuition, I explore the role it plays in improvisation, in the generative processes of music composition, as well as in music performance. Intended outcomes of this presentation include engaging in discussion with conference participants and establishing potential questions for future research in this area.

 

 

Kat Reinhert (University of Miami)

Done is better than perfect: Encouraging the process of creativity

 

Within the process of creativity lies the courage to be vulnerable. Creativity demands that we show up every day with the simple intent to create. It doesn’t ask us to be perfect, it simply asks to participate in the journey of discovery. Being creative is the goal itself. Neuroscience shows that creativity engages the entire brain in a complex series of interactive processes. Current research demonstrates that creative risk taking and critical thinking are shown to develop life-long learning and communication skills. However, many researchers, writers, performers, and composers express having difficulty when trying to get started on a new project, often because there is a fear before even beginning the work that it will never be enough. This is increasingly prevalent in the current culture climate of consumption, where the pressure to create perfect products is highly encouraged, generally to the detriment of the creativity process itself. Focusing on the process of creating allows for the freedom to create without the limitations and fear of needing to be perfect. Within this process lies the courage to fail, for only through failing can we learn how to succeed. This presentation focuses on how to encourage students and professionals to enjoy the process of being creative without the limitations of needing to have a perfect product as an end result. Learning that done is indeed better than perfect can encourage the creative process, creative risk taking, and critical thinking.

 

 

Rebecca Rinsema (Northern Arizona University)

An alternative to Peter Webster’s ‘Musical Creativity’? An ecological approach

 

Peter Webster’s work on musical creativity has had a long-standing impact on the way music educators conceive of musical creativity. Webster published a model of musical creativity derived from the literature on musical creativity in 1992. In 2002, he revised that model and called it “Model of Creative Thinking Process in Music.” In this presentation, I identify the advantages and disadvantages of Webster’s definition of musical creativity that accompanied his 2002 model. Webster’s definition is as follows: The engagement of the mind in the active, structured process of thinking in sound for the purpose of creating some process that is new for the creator. I argue that Webster’s model is well suited to understanding musical creativity from within the European classical music tradition, but seems less suited to understanding musical creativity within other traditions. For example, it seems possible that Webster’s necessary condition of “thinking in sound,” which he links to the concept of mental representation, may not occur for some of today’s music producers. Webster’s appeal to mental representation seems to be based in the representational model of perception, which has strongly influenced the perceptual theory throughout the twentieth century. But, arguments against the theory continue to mount; alternative theories, like James Gibson’s and Alva Noë’s ecological and “enactive” theories of perception, which are based on action rather than representation, are beginning to take more of solid place in the philosophy of perception. Based on the work of such theorists, I propose an alternative definition of musical creativity: Musical creativity is acting with sound for the purpose of creating some product that is new for the creator. I outline how this alternative definition seems applicable for creative musical engagements across a wide variety of musical traditions.

 

 

Elizabeth Robbins (Temple University)

Girls rock: A case study

 

The purpose of this single case study is to uncover participant musical and personal experiences in Girls Rock. My research questions included: (1) What musical and social benefits do participants articulate because of their participation in Girls Rock? (2) How do participants describe the benefits and impediments of a gender-specific environment? (3) How do participants describe the differences between Girls Rock and their in-school music involvement? Girls Rock is a non-profit community organization that provides musical activities for girls and women in a large city in the northeastern United States. The case study focuses on the “Band Experience,” where girls ages nine through twelve form their own rock bands. They write songs and rehearse together during the academic year, and the experience culminates with a performance of the bands’ original music. The study, currently in process, is to be completed by December, 2016. I am collecting two forms of data including video recordings of student rehearsals and two semi-structured interviews with each participant. My data analysis includes open and focused coding, and drawing themes together regarding participants’ experiences. This case study may demonstrate the importance of community music programs for girls. It may also support music educators who are looking to include rock/popular music and girls-only spaces in their music programs.

 

 

Natalie Royston (Iowa State University) and Jill Wilson (Luther College)

Beliefs of undergraduate music teacher education students on professional teacher dispositions

 

Teacher education accreditation (CAEP) requires that programs “monitor attributes and dispositions beyond academic ability” (CAEP, 2015, p. 9). They define dispositions as “professional attitudes, values, and beliefs demonstrated through both verbal and non-verbal behaviors as educators interact with students, families, colleagues, and communities....” (NCATE, 2008). Research has examined perceptions of music teacher educators (Doerksen & Richter, 2007, 2009) and applied music faculty (Royston & Springer, 2015). In contrast, Gallavan, Peace, and Thomason (2009) examined dispositions deemed most important by collegiate general education majors. The need to examine professional dispositions from the perspective of the music education student is rooted in the psychological theories of Rotter (1954), Seligman (1975), and Bandura (1977). According to these theories, when students feel they are primarily at the mercy of the environment and/or others, they tend to display low self-efficacy and reduced motivation. Lacking the ability to influence/alter the situation may lead to a sense of learned helplessness. This imposed external locus of control can be detrimental to perseverance and success. Allowing students to participate in the process could produce important implications for music education. The purposes of this study are: (1) determine which professional teaching dispositions are deemed most important by undergraduate music education students and (2) reveal any differences in the dispositions identified by students by performance area, gender, age, and desired teaching area. A researcher-developed web-based survey was distributed that includes open-ended questions, ranks, and ratings of professional dispositions. Results and implications may provide unique contributions to existing literature.

 

 

Leonard Tan (National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

Re-thinking traditional large ensembles: Insights from classical Chinese philosophy

 

In the music education literature, the practice of traditional large ensembles (i.e., band, choir, and orchestra) has been theorized largely through the lenses of Western thinkers, such as John Dewey, Paulo Freire, and Michel Foucault (e.g., Allsup & Benedict, 2008; Mantie, 2012). Far fewer writers have drawn on Asian thinkers, such as Chinese philosophy (e.g., Tan, 2014). As an alternative philosophical enterprise undergirded by a different set of assumptions, Chinese philosophy has much to potentially nuance, inform, and even challenge extant philosophical, theoretical, and practical literature on large ensembles. In this presentation, I distill ideas from my own work on Chinese philosophy and also draw on my 16 years of experience as an orchestral and band conductor to present fresh perspectives on traditional large ensembles. In particular, I center my talk around two major themes: interconnection and change. Three questions lie at the heart of my talk: (1) What is Classical Chinese philosophy, and what are some of its key novel assumptions? (2) What would large ensembles look like when viewed through the lenses of Classical Chinese philosophy? (3) How might this renewed perspective change the ways in which we approach large ensembles? This presentation aims to foster cross-cultural awareness through the addition of Asian philosophy into music education discourse, and also to revitalize the teaching and learning of music through large ensembles.

 

 

Tamara Thies (California State University—Long Beach)

Infusing the Lived Musical Experiences of Hispanic Students into Established Music Education Pedagogy

 

According to a 2014 Current Population Survey (IPUMS) conducted by the Pew Research Center, 15% of Hispanics (ages 25-29) earned a bachelor’s degree or higher compared with their Black (22%), White (41%), and Asian (63%) counterparts. Vincent Tinto’s theory of integration (1975) attributes this gap to a lack of congruency between an individual and the academic/social norms espoused by an institution. To that end, the purpose of this qualitative case study is to provide insights into the experiences of Hispanic, Hispanic first-generation, and non-Hispanic pre-service teachers in an elementary general music course who created and taught Orff arrangements based from authentic Hispanic children’s songs. The overarching research question explores: How do Hispanic and non-Hispanic pre-service teachers in an elementary general music education course perceive the infusion of Hispanic-specific culture? In addition to field notes, twenty-six pre-service teachers from a west-coast state university provided data through student journaling and two semi-structured interviews. Using an HBCU-based conceptual framework (Gasman & Arroyo, 2014), I adapted and applied the model’s Reciprocal Processes and Outcomes categories—identity formation (ethnic, intellectual, leadership), values cultivation (cultural relevancy), and achievement. The findings reveal how the process of developing an authentic Latin-based arrangement impacted students’ personal identities, cultures, and musical-pedagogical skill development. By addressing specifics in Hispanic culture, programs can create climates of inclusiveness (Tierney, 1999), provide academic and interpersonal validation to empower their roles as learners (Rendon, 1994), and offer a sense of belonging that recognizes simultaneous affiliations in multiple communities (Hurtado & Carter, 1997).

 

 

Brian Weidner (Northwestern University)

“It’s OK to fail”: Failure as learning in the music ensemble

 

Failure typically carries negative connotations, particularly in performance-focused disciplines such as music. The traditional image of the large ensemble is one that emphasizes polished perfection. In constructivist classrooms that are focused on the development of student musical independence, failure is experienced differently by the students. Failure is not only accepted as a part of the learning process, but it is sought after and welcomed as a necessary stage in the advancement toward greater competency and independence in individual music-making.

This phenomenological exploration focuses on students and directors of four high school bands that have musical independence as a primary learning objective. In these settings, failure is seen as a determinant of student learning, allowing students and teachers alike to recognize the students’ progress toward independence and mastery and the steps needed to move forward. Opportunities are specifically designed to allow for failure to occur, and students seek out failure as a chance to diagnose and resolve their weaknesses. Unlike the typical classroom where the risk of failure leads students to execute tasks hesitantly, students in these ensembles express enthusiasm about encountering failure as it demonstrates the limits of their current abilities and provides the first step toward advancing their own competencies. This acceptance and pursuit of failure develop from the teachers’ repeated assurances of the need to fail; collaborative social networks between students and the teacher that support students in their pursuit of advancement; and a curricular focus on personal growth above performance perfection.

 

 

Kristina Weimer (Pennsylvania State University)

Mentor mentee relationships in Connecticut’s teacher education and mentoring program: Preliminary findings

 

Mentors help facilitate the growth of novice teachers. However, without proper preparation and ongoing development mentors are left unsupported and unable to best perform their roles. The purpose of this literature review was to examine mentor identification, selection, preparation, and development processes to better understand how to provide the guidance mentors need in order to best support novice teachers in their first years. Inconsistencies among and within mentoring programs regarding how mentors are selected, prepared, and developed exist. What is known is not always applied. Because selecting, preparing, and developing mentors should be based on the specific needs of the program there is no “one size fits all” approach. However, mentors should be identified and selected based on criteria that fit the goals and purposes of the program, and they should be selected through a collaborative effort rather than by an individual. Pairing mentor and mentee by subject and grade level increases their likelihood of success. Mentor preparation must be thorough, and development must be ongoing; a “one and done” training is not effective and does not allow chances to collaborate or discuss ideas or issues as they arise. If mentors are well-equipped to be mentors they will be better able to support novice teachers in their role. While there are challenges to selecting, preparing, and developing mentors, well-designed and carefully implemented plans can have a reaching effect. Strong mentors help develop strong teachers; these teachers impact and increase student learning and achievement which improves and strengthens schools.

 

 

Posters

 

 

Jacob Berglin (Northwestern University)

Stratification in music education

 

The question of access to music education frequently centers on the admissions practices of collegiate music and music education programs (Koza, 2008), and whether the systems in place favor one type of student over another. Though participation in music at the secondary level in the United States mostly mirrors the aggregate demographics of the overall United States population, enrollment in collegiate music education programs is overwhelmingly white (Elpus, 2015). This poster presents the preliminary results of a mixed-methods research project exploring demographic diversity in collegiate music programs. Specifically, the poster reports the results of data from the Higher Education Arts Data Service (HEADS) project, which is used to establish a population and sampling frame. The poster also presents initial results of the quantitative portion of the study; enrollment trends over time, coupled with anonymized audition and admission data organized by region, type, and size of school. This data will ultimately help establish target(s) for a critical case study – what schools, of what size, in which region, are doing a “good job” enrolling traditionally under-represented students in music education programs? What are these schools doing to attract diverse students to music education as a career, and what are they doing to provide support once students are enrolled? The results of this study would provide the profession with deep, empirical information about the admission and retention of under-represented students, as well as practical suggestions for improving minority student enrollment in music education.

 

 

Elizabeth Bucura (Eastman School of Music)

Seventh grade students’ musical meanings in the keyboard lab component of a secondary general music class

 

Secondary general music (SGM) students and curricula vary widely (Menard, 2015). This might be particularly true of instrument-focused SGM courses like keyboard, which often draw broad participation among middle school or high school students. Discussions of bridging what might be considered in-school and out-of-school music are increasingly common in music education literature (Tobias, 2015), particularly toward the promotion of lifelong musicianship. While new classes and pedagogies are developed, students’ perspectives of these curricula seem lacking in the literature. The purpose of this case study was to gain insight into the meanings one seventh-grade class made of their ten-week keyboard lab component in an SGM wheel. Research questions included: (1) What are secondary students’ perceptions of in-school and out-of-school relatedness when taking a general music keyboard class? and (2) What musical meanings might students make of their SGM keyboard experience? Data were collected over ten weeks and triangulated through observation, individual and group student interviews, and a collection of artifacts. Preliminary findings included that the curriculum attempted to balance notation- and ear-based music learning and students seemed similarly motivated by both, though lacked skills in both learning styles. Students seemed to hit critical guidance points at which notions of fixed musicianship were potentially affirmed. Implications included that integration of notation- and ear-based music learning might provide students avenues for musical problem solving if encouraged to gravitate toward one or the other. Additionally, beliefs about oneself as a musical person shape the learning experience, which might be strengthened if explicitly discussed.

 

 

Brent Clowers (University of South Florida)

Acoustic and electronic instruments: Coexistence in the music classroom

 

Music technology, in the form of digital instruments, is beginning to find ways into K-12 school music classrooms. There is little research, however, that examines the use of digital musical instruments used in settings alongside more traditional acoustic instruments. This qualitative study explores the combination and application of acoustic and digital instruments in a third-grade music classroom. Seven third-grade students collaboratively work to create and perform an electro-acoustic music composition in a learner-centered environment. The research questions guiding this twelve-week project include: (1) What student-led collaborative strategies are best suited for composing electro-acoustic music? (2) What musical skills do students acquire by integrating both acoustic and digital instruments? (3) Electronic instruments can produce an almost infinite array of sonic possibilities. Does acoustic integration retract from or enhance the creative potential that these instruments inherently possess? And (4) What are the advantages and limitations of electro-acoustic live performance? Data collection include recordings of the students working on their project, along with semi-structured interviews of students and teachers at the beginning, mid-point, and conclusion of the project. Conclusions and recommendations for the music education profession are offered.

 

 

Maia Giesbrecht and Bernard W. Andrews (University of Ottawa, Canada)

Hidden ground: What are the characteristics of educational music for strings in the Canadian context?

 

This essay explores issues surrounding the composition of educational music with a particular focus on the analyses of composers’ scores on creating new string compositions for young musicians within the New Sounds of Learning Project. On a macro level, the composers predominantly composed multiple movements (three to four), using single section (A), binary (AB), ternary, or variation forms (A, A’, A”, A”’, etc.), and they adopted simple meters throughout. At the micro level, the majority of the compositions also included a technical element which was used to further skill development; that is, lack of meter to focus attention; syncopation to develop rhythmic fluency; interactive rhythms between parts to promote player coordination; modular structure to address varied skill levels; or free rhythm to promote imaginative thinking. The findings are of interest to those members of the music profession interested in the dissemination of new music for strings within educational settings.

 

 

Daniel Johnson (University of North Carolina—Wilmington)

The influence of chamber music experience on developing twenty-first century skills: Exploring the human dimension

 

How does chamber music experience influence students’ development – not only musically but also personally? As previous researchers have shown, experiencing music is not a localized phenomenon, but rather a meaningful endeavor with both cognitive and affective results. By conducting this inquiry, the researcher explored the relationship between learning in music and learning more holistically. Because transferable skills such critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity transcend music learning and impact lifelong success, this project considered the students’ personal development through the lens of those twenty-first century skills. In partnership with a high school band director, the researcher organized seventeen band students into three chamber ensembles: a saxophone quartet, a clarinet sextet, and a brass septet. As a pretest, those students completed a semi-structured interview addressing four twenty-first century skills. Following the completion of this eight-week study, the students completed a parallel posttest interview. Students from the same band program, but not participating in the chamber ensembles, provided comparison pretest and posttest data. The researcher is analyzing the data using an open-coding procedure to determine emergent themes. He is employing peer checks, member checks, and systematic data coding to enhance credibility and provide triangulation. Preliminary results indicate that the chamber music students demonstrated a more developed expression of twenty-first century skills. The researcher is going to complete the data analysis before the end of 2016. By articulating existing learning relationships between music and twenty-first century skills, outcomes of this project may justify on-going instrumental music teaching in chamber music settings.

 

 

Louis Kugelman (Temple University)

The philosophies of Revelli and Fennell: A difference of philosophy

 

William Revelli and Frederick Fennell, formidable leaders in 20th century band education movement, are credited with developing two highly respected American collegiate band programs (University of Michigan and the Eastman School of Music). Though their individual philosophies toward band performance and music education are rife with disagreement, they shared mutual respect for each other. The purpose of my research is to explore their professional contributions, how they arrived at their philosophies, how their philosophies align with prominent music education philosophers, and finally, what music educators can learn from these leaders. Revelli cultivated a renowned high school band program in Hobart, Indiana and was eventually hired at Michigan. While there, he revolutionized the instrumental music education curriculum and created the need for a large, full time applied faculty. Revelli developed large bands to rival the sounds and colors of full symphony orchestras. In contrast, Fennell never left his alma mater to work in schools. He remained at Eastman as faculty and actualized his Wind Ensemble concept, creating smaller, highly skilled, shape shifting ensembles that catered to composers’ demands. In exploring each conductor’s background and teaching philosophies, I highlight parallels to David Elliott and Bennett Reimer’s philosophies of music education. I illustrate how Revelli aligns with Elliott’s praxialist philosophy, while Fennell aligns with Reimer’s music education as aesthetic education (MEAE). Lastly, I discuss what music educators can take from the philosophies of these innovators and implement in daily instruction.

 

 

Kailimi Li (University of Massachusetts—Amherst)

Music teacher preparation for culturally diverse school environments: A review of literature

 

Cultural and linguistic diversity are on the rise in United States schools. Ironically, research shows that the population of K-12 music teachers in the U.S. is largely female, White and middle class. Cultural differences between teachers and students have led to wide knowledge gaps surrounding learning experiences that are engaging for students of color. This review of literature examines music teacher preparation for culturally diverse school environments in the United States, identifying inherent issues and specific areas in which new music teachers feel underprepared. The literature shows that new music teachers (a) are not adequately prepared for culturally responsive teaching in their music teacher education programs, (b) do not feel comfortable working with students whose cultures and languages are different from their own, and (c) may not be familiar with the musical traditions of these cultures. In addition, they are not prepared to work within school systems that serve populations of culturally diverse students (i.e., schools that often have little support as to equipment, classroom space, instructional materials, and professional development). One suggestion for music teacher preparation programs is to incorporate more learning experiences in cross-cultural settings, allowing pre-service teachers to interact with students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Another suggestion is to help pre-service teachers develop comprehensive knowledge of music outside the Western tradition though world music survey courses. A final consideration is that regular field experience in culturally diverse schools would allow pre-service teachers to develop an understanding of the “real world” environment of culturally diverse music classrooms.


 

Corin Overland (University of Miami)

Interactions of in-group bias and cultural priming in professional music adjudicators

 

Research has found that during evaluation tasks, raters rate individuals who share similar characteristics more favorably than those who differ, a phenomenon known as in-group bias. While the effects of in-group bias are well documented in other disciplines, findings have been mixed and inconclusive in music evaluation contexts. This may be partially due to these biases interacting with cultural priming effects that are unique to music and the arts. Cultural priming is the phenomenon of raters assigning higher scores to performers who are associated with the cultural background of the music that is performed; such as an African-American performing an African-American spiritual. This study describes the interaction of these two forces during evaluation tasks when performed by professional music adjudicators (n = 176). Further, this study expands on earlier research by expanding constructs of race/ethnicity—prior studies have been limited to either African-American Black and non-Hispanic White nearly exclusively, therefore this study investigates two additional demographics: Hispanic/Latino(a) and Pacific Rim Asian. Raters evaluated online audio performances that were presented with an image of either a male or female conductor reflecting various racial/ethnic categories. Non-Hispanic White instrumentalists rated performances higher when the depicted conductor was also non-Hispanic White. Similarly, choral specialists scored performances of a choral arrangement of a Caribbean-inspired calypso significantly higher when the depicted conductor was a male African-American. Numeric ratings of non-Hispanic White conductors were more strongly correlated with a judge’s summative rating category (i.e. gold, silver, bronze) than other races/ethnicities.

 

 

Jill Reese (State University of New York—Fredonia)

Communitas: Ukulele and collective joy

 

Participatory music­making experiences are process focused opportunities in which

people can create music together and develop their amateur musicianship and musical expression (Turino, 2008). Ukulele groups—fertile contexts for participatory and amateur musicking—are increasing in popularity (Giebelhausen, 2016). These types of communal music experiences provide a liminal context ripe for the phenomenon of communitas (Turner, 2012). The purpose of this phenomenological case study (in­progress) is to describe the lived experiences of adult amateur musicians participating in a community ukulele group and to examine the emergence of communitas within the context of participatory performance. Turner’s (2012) concept of communitas and Turio’s (2008) concept of participatory performance provide the theoretical framework for this study. Research questions that guide this study include: (1) how do the participants’ describe their lived experiences as amateur musicians participating in a ukulele group? (2) how do the participants describe their participatory performance experiences and perception of communitas? and (3) what is the participants’ perceived sense of musical identity in relation to their participation in the group? Data include individual interviews with 14 community ukulele participants and group interviews occurring in the context of small group jam sessions. The data collection, analysis process, and focus on the essence of the lived experience were influenced by phenomenology (Hourigan & Edgar, 2014). Emerging themes include ingredients for and characteristics of liminality, manifestation of collective joy, and (re)discovery of musician identity. Implications for future research and practice are suggested.

 

 

Yunshu Tan (State University of New York—Fredonia)

Effects of Chinese pop music selection on students’ music familiarity and preference for its traditional version

 

The study investigated effects of Chinese pop music on students’ familiarity and preference for its traditional version. Research questions are as follows: (a) is there a difference in students’ familiarity with and preference for traditional versions of Chinese music based on their exposure to pop versions of Chinese music? (b) is there a relationship between students’ familiarity with and preference for Chinese music (traditional and/or pop versions) based on personality? and (c) what are students’ open­ended reasons for preference decisions and are these reasons influenced by exposure to pop music versions of traditional Chinese music? Participants were undergraduate students (ages 18­-30) from two intact classes at a university in Northeast United States. Participants completed pretest, treatments, and posttest. In the first week, participants completed pretest (personality test and music listening preference test). Participants were divided randomly into either a Chinese pop music treatment group or a traditional Chinese music treatment group. During six weekly treatments participants listened to various music examples. Depending on the group, the students heard either the traditional version or a pop music version of the example. The researcher provided background information and played audio of the music example while using engaged and attentive listening strategies (e.g., clapping, moving, humming melody, and discussing) to deepen participants’ experience (Campbell, 2005). Following the treatment period, the researcher administered a posttest for listening familiarity and preference. Results of this in-­progress study are to be aggregated by January 2017.

 

 

Brian Weidner (Northwestern University)

Defining musical independence in the large ensemble classroom

 

Musical independence within the large music ensemble has been discussed in many ways, but little focus has been placed on how practicing teachers who are dedicated to teaching musical independence define and experience the term. This multiple case study focused on three experienced high school band directors regarding two guiding research questions: How do music teachers who focus on musical independence define the term? And how are their definitions translated into their classroom practices? A close, hierarchical relationship between student agency, student decision making, and lifelong musicianship became apparent through teacher and student interviews and classroom observations conducted over the course of one academic year. Student agency and decision making were directly encouraged by the teachers’ constructivist philosophies, curricular design, and instructional practices. Student agency influenced decision making by authorizing students to make meaningful decisions, while decision making influenced student agency by giving students ownership of their educational experiences. Lifelong musicianship developed as a consequence of students having agentive and decision making responsibilities by personalizing their musical experiences within large ensembles and making students aware of their own musical sensitivities. The ensemble classrooms utilized a wide range of instructional practices to foster musical independence including student-led activities without teacher intervention, open rehearsal formats that encouraged unsolicited student direction and feedback, extensive Socratic questioning, and deliberate modeling of strategies and techniques by the teacher to encourage independent musical skills and competencies. 


 

 

Kristina Weimer (Pennsylvania State University)

Mentor identification, selection, preparation, and development: A literature review

 

The purpose of this multiple case study was to examine relationships between music teacher mentors and mentees within the context of Connecticut’s Teacher Education and Mentoring Program (TEAM), a two-year state-wide teacher novice teacher induction program. The research questions were: How do the music mentors and mentees describe their relationships? What do they identify as successes in their relationships? What do they identify as challenges in their relationships? What meanings do the mentors and mentees gain from their relationships? And how have the relationships impacted the professional growth and development of the mentors and mentees? Each case was a music teacher mentor/mentee pair within TEAM; the unit of analysis was the individual mentor and mentee. Data collection included five individual journal entries, three semi-structured individual interviews, and one semi-structured joint interview with the mentor/mentee pair. Constructivism and interpretivism shaped the framework of this study. Participants constructed beliefs about their mentoring relationship through their experiences and interactions with one another, then interpreted the meanings gained from these relationships and how they impacted their professional growth. This study is currently in the data collection stage. Data are to be analyzed as they are collected, with preliminary findings reported at the symposium. Data are to be analyzed first using intra-case analysis. Cross-case analysis will then be applied to examine the relationship of emerging themes between the three cases and discuss similarities and differences among the cases.

 

 

Carson Zajdel (Temple University)

Exploring processes of young male secondary choral music teachers’ gay identity revelation

 

This grounded theory study examined the experiences of six millennial gay male secondary choral music teachers to learn how their identity revelation choices to administrators, colleagues, students, and parents impacted their professional security, the success of their school choral program, and their pedagogical methods and philosophies. Data collection, analysis, and theoretical development followed Strauss and Corbin’s grounded theory approach. The primary data collection included one-on-one semi-structured interviews with each participant. Through the data analysis process that included several levels of coding, a theory emerged revealing a temporal process unique to individual circumstances. Examining participants’ personal histories through secondary phenomena (the process of coming out to family and envisioning a future in choral music) was critical in laying contextual foundations for the central phenomenon, participants’ layered sexual orientation revelatory decisions to various groups of stakeholders. Contextual conditions, including self-acceptance, geography and microclimates, and inevitable student awareness of teachers’ sexual orientation substantially influenced participant experiences. Participant decisions were consequential in how they presented themselves in their school environments and their ability to serve as an LGBTQ+ role models for students. A temporal matrix is presented, along with emerging dialogues on how guidance from LGBTQ+ role models, teacher education programs, and professional music organizations may also have a substantial influence on the development of future secondary choral music teachers. Findings suggest further inquiry is needed with more participants to fully understand revelatory decisions as they are enacted throughout one’s professional identity development.

 

 

Roundtable

 

 

Beth Bolton (Temple University), Ricardo Freire, Sandra Ferraz (University of Brasilia, Brazil), Kerry Renzoni (State University of New York—Buffalo), Joohee Rho (Korea Audiation Institute for Research, South Korea), Michal Hefer (Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, Israel), and Paola Anselmi (Scuola Popolare di Musica Donna Olimpia, Italy)

The human factor: How personal perspective, creativity, and intent to communicate influence interpretation of music

 

Interpretation of music is an expression of art, emotion, experience, culture, mood, expertise, and knowledge of intended audience. Interpretation is deeply personal. Shared interpretation and discussion of the interpretive process brings freshness to music education. Teachers become composers and performers who develop music ideas that could be applied to many different classroom settings. Interpretation becomes a form of creativity and shared interpretation allows cross-fertilization opportunities for teachers to enrich their pedagogical practices by seeing other teachers use their songs in action. In summer 2015, seven music educators from five countries focused on music interpretation to enhance their teaching and more deeply understand elements that influence song presentation and interpretation. All members composed songs, learned and audio-recorded one another’s songs, and shared impressions in writing and Skype group discussion. In summer 2016, members of this group expanded their discussion of interpretation using audio and video recordings of a new tune, and writing rich descriptions of their interpretative process and the relation of that process to performance and teaching. What began as a simple project became more complex as members read, learned, and performed one another’s music, and discussed one another’s descriptions of the interpretive process. At Suncoast, members will discuss how this project influenced their musicianship, interpretation of repertoire, collaborative music-making with children and parents, and music teacher preparation pedagogical discussions. Members developed an understanding that interpretation is a dynamic process, influenced by imagination and by interpretations of others.

Video link: https://vimeo.com/192677357/b60b796bba

 

 

Kasia Bugaj (Florida State University) and Selim Giray (University of Mississippi)

String ensemble setup innovation through historical perspective

 

We present and discuss strategies for solving instrument and ensemble setup challenges with particular instrumentation considerations in overcoming venue shortcomings. Furthermore, we present realistic string orchestra setup possibilities with a consideration on their historic context. One of the fundamental tasks of the beginning string instructor is establishing a basic instrumental setup for each student. The reality of this task is often made more complicated by the nature of the teaching venue. Many teachers work in cramped or oddly shaped spaces, not conducive to success. In this session, we focus on the challenges of implementing a good instrument setup and maintaining that setup within the orchestra in our classrooms, regardless of venue or classroom shortcomings. Furthermore, we present realistic string orchestra setup possibilities with a consideration to the type and level of ensemble, as well as their historic context. With the understanding that Suncoast attendees comprise various disciplines, we welcome an open discussion of global points of view in seeking creative solutions to our everyday problems, as long as those solutions support our greater musical purpose.

Video link: https://youtu.be/dQRs_Sx3Dzk

 

 

Morgan Burburan and Patrick Cooper (University of South Florida)

Top 40s and responsible music teaching

 

The purpose of this study is to identify themes present in the Top 40 songs from 2006-2015 through a content analysis of lyrics. From our list of common themes, we hope to suggest ways music educators can responsibly teach popular music in the classroom. Secondary students consume digitally made and “current” music at a high rate. However, the mature themes presented in Top 40 songs often involve sex, drug use, exploitation, hate, the promotion of misogynistic ideals, and other topics ill-suited for the classroom. If we are to promote music making in a context more relevant to our students, how do we navigate these themes in the classroom? What is acceptable in an educational setting? Are there ways to engage students in a responsible way with these themes? How might we begin a discourse of equity and social justice with our students? Data are collected through Billboard’s “End Year Hot 100” list from 2006-2015. A content analysis of lyrics for the Top 40 songs is done revealing themes to which our students are exposed. Themes are sorted from most prevalent to least prevalent by year to identify the rate at which topics are sold to our students, and to identify rising and falling thematic trends in popular music. Suggestions are made to promote positive discourse about these themes in a responsible way in the classroom.

Video link: https://youtu.be/c4ZZx66DHf4

 

 

Katie Carlisle (Georgia State University)

Proposing a university consortium for music education policy and professional development

 

This roundtable workshop proposes a university consortium for music education policy and professional development. A university consortium is a grouping of universities. It enables exploration of the human values and decisions underlying music education policy and professional development, while developing organized plans of action. Within a music education context, a university consortium can address the impact of policy upon pre-kindergarten through university music education. A recent policy phenomenon was the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which identified Music as a K-12 core subject. A university consortium can propose pathways for professional development in response to policy. Members of the university consortium represent state and local perspectives regarding policy impact and resulting professional development needs of music teachers. Together, these perspectives form interactive national representation poised to develop and disseminate professional development structures and aims. My video component preceding the workshop presents theoretical underpinnings in the areas of policy and professional development. This serves to develop a rationale for the proposal of a university consortium in music education for music education policy and professional development. My roundtable workshop will engage participants to garner perspective and propose action utilizing the following four questions for discussion: (1) What are current music education policy and professional development issues at the state level? (2) How does the implementation of ESSA impact policy at the state level? (3) What are professional development aims at the state and national levels? and (4) What national structures could be developed to provide pathways for these aims?

Video link: https://youtu.be/W6KK2sp4Tdo


 

Melanie Faulkner, colleagues, and students (School District of Hillsborough County)

The Young Songwriters Symposium


The Young Songwriters Symposium is an annual collaborative event between students in Hillsborough County Public Schools and their music teachers in which creativity is encouraged through song composition. Twenty fifth-grade musicians, coached by their music teachers, meet together over a two month period to develop their songwriting skills. By the end of the project, each student will have written a complete original song. Accompanied by a live band, students will record a professional CD with a renowned recording engineer. Parents, teachers, administrators and the public are invited to a live performance in the Concert Hall at the University of South Florida School of Music in which students perform their original songs.

Video link: https://youtu.be/DnQ6v7GzNqY



Alan Gumm (Central Michigan University)

Measuring music conducting from multiple perspectives: Mixed-method validity analyses of a six-function theory and survey

 

The purpose of the study was to investigate the validity of a six-function theory of conducting from multiple perspectives using a mix of traditional and technological measures: rating-scale survey, systematic video observation, video-recall interview, and—perhaps a first in relation to conducting—computerized psychoacoustic analysis of ensemble performance sound. The Conducting Priorities Survey (CPS) was administered to conductors and consenting members of a choir, orchestra, and band at a large Midwestern U.S. university. The mixed methods design provided tentative support for the content, construct, concurrent, and predictive validity of the CPS, and concurrently identified (a) the choral conductor’s highest priorities of expressive, motivational, and physical technique conducting on both the conductor and ensemble CPS, (b) the orchestra conductor’s top priority of mechanical precision across ensemble and conductor CPS and systematic observation measures, and (c) the band conductor’s highest priority toward expression across ensemble and conductor CPS, observation, and interview measures. In interviews, the band conductor and random ensemble member were most conscious of musical functions, and identified subtle, intuitive, reflexive musician-related gestures with prompting; correlations support the CPS’s equitable measurement of conscious and subliminal aspects of conducting. Combined with interview descriptions, significant correlations between observed functions and computer-analyzed sound rationally explain how the band conductor shifted and combined functions to heighten expressive sound, motivated musician awareness to rebalance tone and volume, physically invigorated musicians’ increased sound, and eased tension to refine timbre and release volume. The mixed methods design poses new directions for research and teaching of conducting.

Video link: https://youtu.be/C1if9KktXcg

 

 

Colin Harte (Department of Education, New York City)

The Bodhrán in the Boogie Down Bronx: Ethnomusicological pedagogy in Mott Haven

 

This presentation examines the bodhrán in relation to ethnomusicological pedagogy employed in a public middle school percussion ensemble for at-risk youth in the high poverty neighborhood of Mott Haven in the South Bronx. Often associated with Irish traditional music, the bodhrán was the central instrument provided to students with which to perform a variety of non-traditional musics. The frame drum design and variety of playing techniques (hand, tipper, and brushes) afforded the ensemble a broad timbral palette from which to choose. Cleaved from its traditional context, the bodhrán’s inclusion in the public school percussion ensemble led to the creation of a new instrumental repertoire that sought to address student educational needs, communal interests and pedagogy focused upon healthy musical forms of student self-expression. My research draws from a host of interviews conducted with students, administration, community members, parents, and New York city-based bodhrán makers and performers (both professional and amateur). This presentation explores the nature of tradition and transformation in relation to the bodhrán within an urban, public school context. An in-depth analysis of repertoire construction and bodhrán performance practices is included.

Video link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8g7g1sXZd7TNVNWNWxTRThPQk0/view

 

 

Sangmi Kang (University of Florida)

The effect of motivation on students’ preferences for acoustic or iPad instruments: Comparing guitars and gayageums

 

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of motivation on upper-grade elementary students’ preferences for acoustic or iPad instruments. The effect of the musical instruments’ cultural familiarity and institutional setting were also investigated. Participants (N = 138) were recruited from three elementary schools in the Southeastern region of the USA. Participants were introduced to the guitar, GarageBand guitar, gayageum (Korean zither), and the iPad gayageum, and took the Motivation to Learn a Musical Instrument Scale to classify their motivation levels. Afterwards, students participated in a small group session wherein they played the four instruments and completed the Instrument Preference and Choice Questionnaire.

Data analysis revealed two significant main effects for instrumental mode (acoustic vs. iPad) and motivation. There were also two significant three-way interactions: (a) mode x institutional setting (private vs. public) x motivation, and (b) cultural familiarity x mode x motivation. The two main effects of mode and motivation generated a general pattern of instrument preference: (a) students generally preferred acoustic instruments to iPad instruments, and (b) higher motivation group participants rated their preferences for each instrument higher than the lower motivation group participants. However, interaction effects variated this pattern regarding motivation levels, institutional setting, and instruments’ cultural familiarity. The low-motivated students tended to prefer iPad instruments while the highly-motivated students tended to prefer acoustic instruments. These variations were consistently demonstrated in instrument choices and students’ stated reasons for their choices. This study has implications for motivating, challenging, and engaging music students when utilizing digital technology.

Video link: https://youtu.be/yTGV4pnL8cU

 

 

Jonathan Kladder and William Lee (University of South Florida)

Music Teachers Perceptions of Creativity: A Preliminary Investigation

 

Music teachers embrace beliefs about creativity in various music teaching and learning contexts. These beliefs may include various aspects of creativity, including the process, a generated final product, traits of a creative student, or environmental factors associated with creative work. These notions impact their daily decision-making, including curriculum development, classroom management, music performances, and instructional techniques. A review of literature indicated limited research in this area currently exists. The purpose of this preliminary research was to investigate the perceptions of creativity according to music teachers, that is, how they define it, support it in their classrooms, and view creative students. A researcher-developed questionnaire consisting of 24 Likert and 4 open-ended questions was distributed to a sample of K-12 and higher education music teachers in the southeastern region of the United States. Data analysis procedures yield implications for music teachers, music teacher education, and outline areas for future research.

Video link: https://vimeo.com/192526606

 

 

John Kratus (Michigan State University)

Reconsidering assessment in music education

 

The purpose of this session is to propose a new way of assessing music education programs. The education reform movement that began in the 1990s resulted in the creation of “world-class” disciplinary standards and, subsequently, tests to measure student success in achieving these standards. The aggregate success of students’ performance was equated with the success of the school program (e.g., the teachers and administrators). Similar models are now being applied in music education, with performance ratings being used to determine students’ proficiency, hence school music programs’ success. However, recent research suggests that the many benefits of musical engagement, in all its various forms, have literally nothing to do with high levels of musical proficiency. If music education’s aim is to enable students to pursue the varied benefits of music, then students’ performance ratings are a poor measure of a school music program’s success. Instead, I propose that assessment be targeted to address various qualities of the school music program, rather than the proficiency of students on a uniform set of standards. I suggest that the offerings in a school’s music program should be: Sustainable – learning that extends beyond the school years, Socially responsible and inclusive – representative of the school’s diverse population and including as many students as possible, Global and local – taking advantage of local music resources and the internet, Individually expressive – acknowledging students’ unique muse, Collaborative – students work with each other, not only under the direction of their teacher, and Life Affirming – bringing meaning and joy to students’ lives.

Video link: https://vimeo.com/196904059

 

 

Lisa Lehmberg (University of Massachusetts—Amherst)

The role of participatory music making in the quality of life of senior citizens

 

Participatory music making can be defined as music making in which there are no performer-audience distinctions, with the overall goal of involving all present in a music making role (Turino, 2008). The purpose of this collective case study was to determine the role of circle singing, a form of participatory music making, in the quality of life of 15 adults aged 50 or older who were involved in one or more weeklong summer circle singing workshops from 2013-2015. The study was grounded in ethnography, with the researcher taking the role of participant-observer, and explored the musical histories of participants, the structure and essence of the circle singing experience, participants’ reasons for involvement in circle singing, the challenges and benefits participants experienced from circle singing, and the overall role of circle singing in participants’ quality of life. Data included researcher notes and transcriptions of individual semi-structured interviews, and were analyzed using qualitative techniques. Findings indicated that circle singing plays an important role in the quality of life of senior citizens who participate. It serves as a conduit for (a) entry into music making without formal training, (b) expression of musical creativity, (c) formation of open, inclusive, deeply supportive relationships with others, (d) musical risk-taking and decision-making, (e) spiritual fulfillment and healing, (f) experiencing of profound joy through collaborative musical expression, and (g) the preservation and increase of self-esteem related to senior citizens’ perceptions of their own capabilities.

Video link: https://umass.box.com/s/xyz0dwpq84haaz4gdbx64a6m3xakn0bo

 

 

Lisa Lehmberg (University of Massachusetts—Amherst) and C. Victor Fung (University of South Florida)

Music participation and quality of life: Findings in senior citizen centers

 

This research study, currently in progress, aims at examining the role of music participation in the quality of life of senior citizens who utilize senior citizen centers and investigates the role of music itself within these centers. Participants are drawn within senior citizen centers in six cities across the United States and compose two distinct national samples: a diverse group of 60 senior citizens aged 60 and above (10 per city) who utilize the selected senior centers’ programs and facilities, and 12 adults (2 per city) who serve as management, staff, or activity leader at these centers. Data comprise researcher notes from informal interviews and observation of activities at senior citizen centers. Interview questions for senior citizens focus on their current and past music participation, the role of music in their lives, their desired activities, and their quality of life. Questions for management and staff focus on the center’s musical activities, interest and level of participation in these activities, funding, challenges, priorities, and influences of public policies. Researcher notes are analyzed using qualitative data analysis techniques to determine emergent themes. Results should help to determine the types of musical opportunities most desired by users of senior centers, and also lead to recommendations for musical opportunities within senior centers to improve quality of life.

Video link: https://umass.box.com/s/0czzio4hbfneazpj0lul8l1qh5kd1ild

 

 

Danxu Ma (University of South Florida)

Music in global citizenship education: Learning music as a global citizen

 

Every problem in the world, every global conflict whether it takes place thousands of miles away, or right next door, is a global one. We live in one world, fast changing technology and information make our world a global village. We share rich global economies and resources, but at the same time, we must take responsibilities for our world as well. Because we are all members of the world community. Attending to global citizenship education is essential. In 2014, UNESCO supported the idea of empowering learners to become responsible global citizens, and it has made global citizenship education one of its key education objectives. The research idea comes from the belief that the concepts of global citizenship are very useful at creating a global community. However, this brings an important question: How can the Global Citizenship concepts be transmitted to every student by teaching music? In 2015, the University of South Florida proposed Global Citizens Project, which provides a platform to uphold the UN mission of Global Citizenship Education. This research focuses on a music course with global citizenship content, a general music course without global citizenship content, and a general course in another subject at USF. The research question is to what extent can music and music education cultivate global citizenship concepts? Global citizenship survey is used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data before the courses begin and after the courses end. This study will be valuable to music educators seeking to better equip more students with global awareness, global responsibility, and global participation. In addition, the research will be beneficial to global citizenship developers wishing to effectively incorporate values and topics concerning music and music education within the education system.

Video link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B46I66Oz-HI2ZDVvbWF1TmxEZms/view

 

 

Wendy Matthews (Wayne State University), Daniel Johnson (University of North Carolina—Wilmington), and Brett Nolker (University of North Carolina—Greensboro)

Teacher decision-making in choral and instrumental ensembles: Contextual influences on pedagogy

 

Music-making in large ensembles demands sustained cooperative effort, which can be influenced by interpersonal and situational factors. In this setting music-making is a social activity with its teaching and learning being a communal achievement, however the contexts of instrumental and choral ensembles may present different emphases and challenges. In both environments, directors make countless instructional decisions on a daily basis that indicate their learning priorities, and influence communication with students. To explore the influence of musical context on these pedagogical, interpersonal, and human relationships, the co-authors examined instrumental and choral directors’ perspectives on instructional decision-making. Using a two-phase process, the co-authors collected data via written surveys and follow-up interviews. In phase one, 13 instrumental and 24 choral participants wrote open-ended responses to three scenarios, each representing different instructional challenges. In phase two, participants explained their written responses in more detail and answered follow-up questions to clarify their perspectives. Analysis included open coding to identify emergent themes, peer reviews, and member checks. Emergent themes common to both data sets were: group unification, discipline, classroom climate, and classroom management. Themes more prominent in the choral data were inclusive pedagogy and student attitude, while the contrasting themes of musical knowledge and assessment were more evident in the instrumental data. While people find meaning in making music with others, the context they choose matters, as shown by the difference in teachers’ instructional decisions. Understanding these differences is essential to enhancing teacher education programs. Implications include improving teachers’ self-awareness and advancing professional development opportunities.

Video link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ne18ma52ttzavob/SMERS-video-Instructional-Decision-Making-Matthews-Johnson-Nolker.mp4?dl=0

 

 

Andrew Paney and Selim Giray (University of Mississippi)

How can diversity and equity be increased in string programs in Mississippi?

 

Strings education historically lacked equity and diversity. In Mississippi, a small, rural state with repeated issues with these human values, we are intent on improving string music education in these areas. Following Kodaly’s philosophy of “Music for all,” we want to address the problem of access to strings education for students in our state. The purpose of our project is to determine the current level of equity and diversity by examining publicly available data and contacting string teachers in our state, and obtain information about the requirements (personnel, budget, facilities, inventory) to maintain a string program and the current demographics and strength of pre-college Mississippi string programs. We’re interested in the support string teachers have and what support communities exist for them. We know of no state string organizations or even statewide All-State events that would provide a place for them to get together with others with similar responsibilities. Our participants may provide insight into less formal, unadvertised support systems. With our results, we hope to promote the growth of new and existing string programs. We are especially interested in developing programs in underserved areas and expanding existing programs to less-served demographics. We present the problem of equity and diversity in Mississippi strings and discuss potential ways to address it, and share our results from gathered data regarding the current “state of the state” and how it may influence the development of new programs. We’re interested in receiving feedback and generating new ideas with input from other roundtable participants.

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVGNr6vcr9Y

 

 

Tiger Robison (University of Maryland)

A Hispanic male elementary general music teacher in an urban school: A critical case study

 

The purpose of this critical case study was to examine the experiences of Tomas, a male elementary general music teacher (MEGMT). Tomas is Hispanic and teaches in the same urban school district where he grew up. Over a one-year period, I collected data from semi-structured interviews and email correspondence with Tomas, his administrators, and his coworkers. Additionally, Tomas kept a journal about his teaching experiences that he shared with me weekly. I observed several class sessions that he taught via Skype and in person visits. Data analysis is still in progress, but initial themes of race, gender, workplace misandry, teacher identity, urban education, and poverty are prevalent. There are several quotations that are ripe for discussion such as, “Sexual harassment against guys is not something you really hear about in music education, but it happens,” and “There is a bad stereotype that males can’t teach elementary school kids, that we just yell.” Additionally, there are implications for diversifying the music education workforce with regard to race. The anticipated completion date of this project is October 31, 2016.

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvPgVbSGqbk

 

 

Tiger Robison (University of Maryland)

Personal and professional characteristics of music education professors: Factors associated with expectations and preferences of undergraduate students

 

The purpose of this study was to examine music education undergraduate students’

expectations of and preferences for their music education faculty members’ personal and

professional backgrounds and compare them to the actual backgrounds of current music teacher

educators. The research questions were: (1) Do music education undergraduate students expect or prefer their music education faculty members to have certain experiences and knowledge, or demonstrate particular personality traits? (2) Do music education undergraduate students have an accurate concept of the workload and compensation of a typical music education faculty member as it currently exists? And (3) Are music education undergraduate students’ expectations of and preferences for their music education faculty members similar to what we know about a typical music teacher educator? Participants (N = 293) from 55 randomly selected NASM accredited institutions completed a researcher-created questionnaire. Participants expected and preferred their music education faculty members to have approximately nine years of PreK-12 teaching experience (M = 9.15, SD = 4.81; and M = 9.17, SD = 5.64). Participants most valued their music education professors’ experiences in assessment and classroom management and least valued experiences in rural area teaching and success at achieving high festival ratings for ensembles. For professors’ current skills and abilities, participants most valued verbal communication, rehearsal techniques, and teaching pedagogy while least valuing skills in music composition, music history, and non-Western musics. Participants preferred their professors to be kind, flexible, and empathetic, while least preferring them to be serious, humorous, and sympathetic.

Video link: https://youtu.be/_-Jb_A7kElQ

 

 

Joseph Shively (Oakland University)

Transformative adaptation in music teacher education

 

As we prepare music educators for the jobs they will have, we must also consider how best to prepare them for the jobs we would like them to have. However, focusing on the former is shortsighted and on the latter is unrealistic. Further, calls to replace traditional practice with progressive practice do not necessarily resonate with the values and experiences of many music educators. This lack of resonance does not mean transformation is not needed, but rather we should approach it differently. Using ideas from climate change literature (Park et al., 2012), transformative adaptation, where there is a fundamental change of components of a system from one form to another, rather than radical transformation or incremental adaptation, should be applied to music teacher education. This approach “moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities” (IPCC, 2007, p. 869). I make a case that music teacher educators can foster transformative adaptation in the broader field of music education by identifying skills and dispositions that serve music educators working in traditional, progressive, and blended settings. Building on learner-centered pedagogies, pre-service music educators develop flexible practices that are applicable as they shift across various music education continua, such as formal to informal, performance-focused to comprehensive, or, more specifically, concert band to modern band. For example, aural approaches to learning instruments are fertile whether teaching tunes in orchestra or rock band. This presentation focuses on defining transformative adaptation in music teacher education and providing examples of it in practice.

Video link: https://vimeo.com/194265178/de5edd6565

 

 

Leonard Tan (National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

Beyond the school years: On community bands in Singapore and reasons for participation

 

Over the past decade, music educators have expressed concerns over issues of lifelong musical participation, often attributing the crux of the problem to traditional large ensembles that seem to have limited value beyond their school years (e.g., Jones, 2008; Kratus, 2007; Regelski, 2006; Williams, 2011). This begs a number of important questions: Do issues discussed in the Western literature transcend their Anglo-North American contexts? How do community bands in say Asian countries look like, and why do people participate in them beyond their school years? Taking advantage of my present location in my native Singapore—a Southeast Asian city-state halfway around the world from the US—I aim in this presentation to achieve two goals: to introduce community bands in Singapore to the American audience, and to provide a snapshot of why musicians participate in them. My presentation is tripartite. In the first section, I present a brief overview of community bands in Singapore based on historical and publicly available data, drawing on my personal professional involvement whenever relevant. In the second section, I sketch findings from in-depth interviews of 12 community band musicians across a rather diverse age range (late teens to mid-forties), and discuss the three major emergent themes of love, friendship, and skill. In the third section, I gather the major threads presented and propose implications for music education.

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3nCmDPogkU

 

 

Tracy Torrance and Jennifer Bugos (University of South Florida)

Relationships between older adults’ personality traits and musical engagement

 

The effects of musical activity on the physiological, behavioral and mental states of individuals have long been a topic of interest for social scientists, educators and therapists. In recent history, there has been an increase in the research of the positive effects of music on aging adults. Studies have shown that participation in music making by older adults enhances lifestyle, health and cognition as well as the social well-being of participants. The decision to participate in music may be influenced by personality. Not only is personality a function in learning, personality can affect the trajectory of one’s lifespan. Music training contributes to mental health and well-being in older adults (Bugos, Kochar & Maxfield, 2015). Hooker and McAdams (2003) found that Extraversion and Conscientiousness in aging predict longevity, and that high levels of Neuroticism may predict health issues such as cardiovascular disease. College musicians score high in Extroversion, Openness to Experience and Neuroticism and low in Agreeableness (Torrance & Bugos, 2015). Researchers found that while Agreeableness increased in older adults, Extroversion decreased (Field & Millsap, 1990). We hypothesize that adults enrolled in beginning level music classes exhibit higher levels of Extroversion and Openness when compared to younger populations. The purpose of this study is to investigate the personalities of older adults who choose to participate in music making for the first time. One hundred twenty-one healthy older adults (59 beginning musicians, 62 non-musicians) living in an independent living facility in the Southeastern United States completed measures of personality, music aptitude, and a short demographic questionnaire. The Advanced Measures of Music Audiation (AMMA, Gordon, 1989) was used to measure music aptitude. Participants were asked to respond to 30 paired piano melodies as to whether the stimuli were the same, tonally altered or rhythmically altered. The Big Five Personality Inventory was used to gather information for comparison of personalities within the group. Lastly, participants were asked to complete a short anonymous demographic questionnaire regarding age, gender, education, previous music making experiences. Music Interest group scored higher in Neuroticism, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness than the Non-music Interest group. There were no significant differences between groups for Extroversion and Openness to Experience.

Video link: https://youtu.be/GZ5OoqeLkfc