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A phenomenological investigation of competition in high school bands

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This study investigates the lived experience of competition in high school band and the manner in which competition influences and frames band curricula. A hermeneutic phenomenological method based on the

This study investigates the lived experience of competition in high school band and the manner in which competition influences and frames band curricula. A hermeneutic phenomenological method based on the works of van Manen and Vagle was used to investigate what it was like for participants to be in competition. A theoretical framework organized around Schwab's commonplaces of education was used to interpret findings related to the curricular areas of the teacher, learner, subject matter, and milieu. I examined data through a lens incorporating principles of John Dewey's philosophy related to each of the commonplaces.

Twelve individuals participated in the study representing experiences had both as students and as music educators. Participants lived and taught in communities throughout the United States and brought differing levels of teaching and competitive experience. Data were generated through in-depth interviews and collaborative phenomenological texts. Research questions included: What is the lived experience of competing in a high school band like?; and, How does competition frame and influence high school band curricula?

Findings indicate that competition was a meaningful and influential part of participants' work as band directors and educational experiences as students. Competition was approached with tension as participants acknowledged negative concerns over the influence of competitions on their students, yet chose to engage in competitive activities. Marching band contests offered a creative outlet where directors could develop custom materials and they did so with a significant motivation to win. Competition was perceived as an influence on band directors' professional reputations, feelings of competence, and how band programs were viewed in the community. Students were motivated by competitions and reacted strongly to competitive results such as rankings, ratings, and other distinctions.

Findings also indicate that band curricula emphasizing competition share similar curricular facets: (a) teachers carefully control and manage classroom activities and curricular choices; (b) students are viewed as skilled performers who are dependent upon their teachers for learning; (c) subject matter is narrowly considered around measurable behavioral objectives and repertoire selection; and, (d) the educational environment is dominated by the teacher who may use competition to motivate students to work and practice more.

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  • 2016

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Violin Curriculum Incorporating Visual, Aural and Kinesthetic Perceptual Learning Modalities

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To be a versatile violinist, one needs interdependence of aural, visual and kinesthetic skills. This thesis introduces aural, visual and kinesthetic learning modalities, and explores the way each is used

To be a versatile violinist, one needs interdependence of aural, visual and kinesthetic skills. This thesis introduces aural, visual and kinesthetic learning modalities, and explores the way each is used in the Suzuki, Paul Rolland, Orff, Kodály, and Dalcroze methods, as well as in Edwin Gordon’s Musical Learning Theory. Other methods and pedagogical approaches were consulted and influential in developing the curriculum, such as the teaching of Mimi Zweig, but were not included in this paper either because of an overlap with other methods or insufficient comparable material. This paper additionally presents a new curriculum for teaching beginning violin that incorporates aural, visual, and kinesthetic learning in a systematic and comprehensive manner. It also details a sequenced progression to learn new repertoire and develop proficiency with rhythm, solfège, reading and writing musical notation, and left- and right-hand technique.

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  • 2017