Tag Archive: Music

Achieving balance in music for chorus and band: Analysis and performance issues in Requiem by Frigyes Hidas (Education Papers posted on May 14th, 2014 )

The purpose of this study is to provide a guide for conductors when evaluating issues of balance in works for chorus and symphonic band, and to assist them in realizing such works in performance. The principal focus of the document will be an analysis of vocal and instrumental textures in Requiem by Frigyes Hidas as they affect balance and textual clarity, using accompaniment types described by Hawley Ades as guides. The analysis shows that the scoring helps mitigate balance problems commonly found in other works scored for similar forces, making a variety of performance options and interpretations available to conductors. Ensemble issues are discussed as they relate to balance, as are practical solutions regarding stage setup.

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A comparative analysis of the academic achievement of band and non-band participants in Craven County, North Carolina (Education Papers posted on May 13th, 2014 )

This study was intended to compare the academic achievement of students who participated in high school band classes with non-band participants. A problem of practice study was designed to provide data for principals who were creating transitional or remedial courses to benefit core courses. The creation of these courses presented potential scheduling problems that could be detrimental to music programs. Over 3,900 students were observed and a comparative analysis was performed using the following educational variables: a) grade point average, b) English 1 End-of-Course test proficiency, c) Algebra 1 End-of-Course test proficiency, d) Biology End-of Course test proficiency, e) period attendance, f) number of days of out-of-school suspension, and g) dropout rates. Data was observed for all traditional high school students during the 2011–2012 school year. The study indicated that students who participated in at least one band class during the observed year experienced higher academic achievement than non-participants. The academic achievement of band participants was significantly higher than non-participants in six out of seven of the observed variables.

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The Practice of Practice: A Collective Case Study of How Music Practice is Conceived, Executed, and Learned by Professional Musicians in Four Genres of Music (Education Papers posted on May 13th, 2014 )

Practice is a fundamental skill for all musicians of every level. Currently, research on music practice has investigated practice primarily in Western art music traditions. This collective case study of music practice expands the scope of genres being investigated to include Western classical, U. S. popular, jazz, and Indian classical musical traditions. Semi-structured interviews and an information-gathering survey were used to uncover the concepts, execution, and learning trajectories of music practice for two professional musicians from each genre. The research questions for this study are as follows: 1. What does the concept of practice mean to accomplished classical, U.S. popular, jazz, and Indian classical musicians? 2. What are the components of effective practice for these genres of music according to expert practitioners? 3. How have accomplished musicians in these traditions learned to practice effectively? Participant data show evidence that definitions of music practice included more activities than those investigated thus far in the research record, and that music practice was more enjoyable than unenjoyable, a finding in direct opposition to the most-cited definition of practice in the literature. In addition, this dissertation proposed an organizational structure for research literature on music practice in order to provide a framework that highlights gaps in the research record and fosters a coherent agenda for future research.

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The Challenge of Orchestral Reductions: A Case Study of Writing a Reduction for Mozart’s 5th Violin Concerto, K. 219 (Education Papers posted on May 13th, 2014 )

The purpose of this document is to develop a process for addressing the various challenges and issues inherent in writing an orchestral reduction for piano, and to create a new score designed to be useful to collaborative pianists in rehearsals and performance, through the case study of writing a new reduction for Mozarts 5th Violin Concerto in A major, K. 219. The methodology includes an overview of the existing literature on orchestral reductions in order to establish an historical continuum and to articulate a recognized approach as to how one writes a reduction for piano. The three subsequent process chapters are dedicated respectively to each of the three movements of the concerto. Each chapter includes an analysis of the orchestral score itself and discusses the reduction of the score, section by section. Excerpts from existing editions are incorporated as appropriate in order to compare and contrast different reduction techniques. Issues that arise during the process are addressed, and solutions are offered to problematic passages based on a set of analytical procedures that involve harmonic, melodic, structural and performance-based considerations. Thus, this document offers a step-by-step process to what can otherwise be a very subjective task. While the technical and aesthetic demands of undertaking the writing of a reduction are many, and the process often subjective, the intention was to create a methodology and develop systematic tools for approaching any reduction in an objective manner. Since music-making always has, and always will be one that involves artistry, creativity, and subjectivity, it is unreasonable to conclude that a definitive, completely un-subjective process could ever be developed. However, the resulting score, created by a collaborative pianist to be used by other collaborative pianists in performance and rehearsals reflects a process mindful of technical, practical and aesthetic concerns that ensures integrity to the original score.

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Artistic beginnings: A case study of everyday arts usage in one preschool’s classrooms (Education Papers posted on March 24th, 2013 )

This qualitative case study in one nursery school setting identifies the everyday music, drama, dance, and visual art practices of classroom teachers and the reasons behind these practices. It also examines the formal and informal background and education of the teachers to determine if these factors play a role in their use of the arts. Through questionnaires, interviews, observations, journals, lesson plan analysis and arts activity logs, three teachers were intensively examined with five others participating to a lesser extent. Overall teachers were found to use visual art and music more than drama and dance; however, they used visual art in different ways and for different reasons than music. While visual art and drama were more creative in that children were allowed to create their own artwork, music activities were primarily made up of whole group singing and helped children transition from one activity to another or learn class routines. Dance was utilized the least and often grew out of the music in the form of motions or gestures. Both teachers’ formal education as well as their own childhood arts experiences were found to influence their approach to teaching the arts in their classroom. Although teachers in this study were highly educated with most having or working towards a graduate degree, few had any classes instructing them on how to best utilize the arts with young children. This study revealed an array of reasoning behind using the arts in the classroom including addressing different learning styles and needs, teaching or reinforcing other subject areas, for socialization purposes, helping children learn routines, and engaging or focusing their behavior. The study recommends that more opportunities be made available for musical and movement-based exploration or play in the classroom, and that teachers be given some guidance in what developmental growth looks like in each art form so that they may best facilitate opportunities for children to construct knowledge in these areas. Additionally, early childhood teacher training programs should reexamine their arts education requirements as teachers of young children spend so much of their day using these materials and are often given little preparation.

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Teaching jazz concepts in the vocal jazz ensemble rehearsal (Education Papers posted on March 19th, 2013 )

The inherent difficulty with any student vocal jazz ensemble is the time needed for students to master their parts. Many directors are wary of teaching jazz concepts in rehearsal for fear they will not have time to prepare for performance. The goal of this project is to provide directors possible ways to efficiently incorporate important aspects of jazz styles—namely rhythmic feel, song form, improvisation, and harmony—into the rehearsal by showing connections between these concepts and the literature the ensemble is learning. Doing so will benefit students musically, and result in better performances of their repertoire. These improved performances will come as a result of students being more competent and confident in jazz style. Through the investigation of written material on vocal jazz pedagogy and an in-depth consideration of four contrasting arrangements, this paper will present ways to incorporate fundamental aspects of the jazz idiom into the rehearsal setting.

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No Child Left Behind: Determining the impact of policy on music education (Education Papers posted on March 17th, 2013 )

The purpose of this study was to ascertain the impact of No Child Left Behind on music education in the State of Ohio. To accomplish this goal, the researcher sought to determine the attitude toward music education among Ohios public school principals and the relative status of the music programs in their schools since the passing of this federal legislation. Survey research methods were employed to obtain the necessary data. A 25-item questionnaire was created by the researcher, validated by experts, and pilot tested with a small group of Ohio principals. Ten Likert-type items were utilized to measure principals attitudes while the remaining items helped the researcher determine the relative status of music programs with regard to staffing, student access, instructional time, and course offerings. The questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 246 public school principals in Ohio. Usable returns were received from 179 principals, resulting in a response rate of 73%. The overall attitude toward music education among Ohio principals was favorable. On a scale ranging from 6 to 36, the mean attitudinal score among principals was 25.1 with a standard deviation of 3.1. Significant differences between the attitudes of principals serving in “excellent” or “effective” schools and the principals of “academic watch” or “academic emergency” schools were revealed. When considering the expectation of principals that music teachers devote some of their instructional time to other subjects, 43% of Ohios music programs record a weaker status since the passage of No Child Left Behind. Finally, testimonials provided by several principals confirm that No Child Left Behind remains a contributing factor in principals policy decisions that affect music education.

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Balinese gender wayang performance technique: A pedagogical system for the non-Balinese scholar (Education Papers posted on March 17th, 2013 )

Balinese gender wayang shadow play music) performance technique was investigated using information acquired through traditional oral transmission. This information was confirmed by analysing video footage of the Balinese gender wayang master, Bapak I Wayan Loceng, of the village of Sukawati, Gianyar district, Bali, Indonesia, who passed away in 2006. Preliminary performance issues were examined including instruments, mallets, performance setting, seating and posture, and mallet grip. Gender wayang playing technique was examined in terms of physical movements, which were organized into categories including the Basic stroke, Basic dampening, interval movements, special techniques and mallet trajectory. This was done by analysing transcriptions of traditional repertoire. Technical categories were ordered according to a logical pedagogical progression. Balinese music pedagogy was investigated, including traditional maguru panggul teaching with the mallet) pedagogy, Locengs adaptations to traditional Balinese pedagogy, and recommendations for gender wayang pedagogy outside Bali. Issues of transcription and notation were investigated. The polos part of the traditional piece, Tulang Lindung, was transcribed into Western notation and analysed in detail with an emphasis on performance technique, musical construction and pedagogy. Exercises were developed in each technical category to aid in technical development. Results were organised according to a logical pedagogical progression and presented as a comprehensive guide to assist in the development of the non-Balinese gender wayang musician.

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Early solo works for the piano by three contemporary Chinese-American composers: Performance analysis and pedagogical perspectives (Education Papers posted on March 17th, 2013 )

Music is a universal language. It traverses geographical boundaries, political differences, language barriers, ethnic backgrounds, and cultural traditions. As a result of instantaneous global communication, the twenty-first century musical world, in particular, has become an exciting avenue of exchange and a cultural melting pot for musicians of different backgrounds, experiences, and influences. Chinese-American composers Tan Dun b. 1957), Lu Pei b. 1956), and Chen Yi b. 1953), stand as excellent representatives of this new generation that seeks to explore and bridge musical traditions. Their music is a natural hybrid of tradition and avant-garde, technology and natural sounds, classical and popular practices, Eastern and Western elements. The selected solo piano works by the three composers in this monograph reveal early compositional and cultural influences in the composers musical growth. Stylistic analysis of each work is presented with emphasis on performance interpretation. Parameters of the analysis include overall form and dramatic shape, general characteristics, motivic development, harmonic and melodic organization, and diversity of rhythm and texture. The synthesis of Chinese elements and Western techniques in the works will be surveyed. It is the authors intention that this analysis will impose a more comprehensive understanding of the music, resulting in a convincing interpretation. Pedagogical perspectives of the works discussed in the monograph serve as general suggestions for teachers in assisting their adventurous students to survey this creative repertoire by these contemporary Chinese-American composers.

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Story of Jephtah: An oratorio by Giacomo Carissimi. English translation and dramatic staging (Education Papers posted on March 16th, 2013 )

Although the Latin oratorio Jephtah by Giacomo Carissimi 1605-74) is well known to the scholarly and musicological communities, the work has remained relatively inaccessible to general audiences in the United States for a variety of reasons. The lengthy Latin text poses problems for inexperienced church and school singers in the United States, most of whom neither read nor understand Latin. Moreover, many American church congregations and school concert audiences lack the musical sophistication required to follow an English translation in a concert program while simultaneously assimilating a complex work such as Jephtah, leaving them with an incomplete sense of the drama and religious themes of the libretto. This is true even of a relatively sophisticated group such as the Eastern Arizona College A Cappella Choir who I conducted for my lecture-recital performance of Jephtah. In short, the challenge of language provides an obstacle that distances general audiences and many singers from the emotional impact of the story. The research undertaken for my lecture-recital and the accompanying document has suggested the following solutions to these problems. The scope and drama of Jephtah can be rendered more accessible to performers and audiences if the oratorio is performed in a fluent English translation that respects the word placement and the meaning of the original text while capturing the energy and drama of Carissimis musical setting. The power and expression of Carissimis music can be realized through historically-informed vocal production in the choir. The instrumentalists can be trained to accurately perform seventeenth-century continuo realization. To strengthen the understandability and impact of the drama and the religious themes of the story, I staged the oratorio with blocking, gestures, costumes, and properties. Although no systematic attempt was made to assess in impact of this manner of performance upon the ensemble or the audience, this approach to performance appeared to be well received by both. This success suggests that this is an effective way to introduce general audiences to this work.

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