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Theses Doctoral

Back of the Orchestra: High School Students' Experiences With Alternative Seating Practices

Yi, Tammy Sue

In this study I investigate alternative seating practices (ASP) within a public school orchestra. Traditionally, orchestras have employed hierarchical seating structures through the use of chair challenges and seating auditions in efforts to motivate students to practice. However, minimal research is available on the outcomes of hierarchical seating structures within an orchestra. Acknowledging that teachers are at the forefront of our curricular decisions for the orchestra, I explored these challenges from an autobiographical point of view, also sharing the experiences of my students who participated in the orchestra program for three years during the time in which ASP was first integrated. Twenty-five student participants volunteered to partake in this study and parents and administrators were interviewed, to share their perspectives of ASP. Data collection includes; individual and group interviews, letters/essays/journals, and archival collection. Participants were 10th-grade orchestra students in a public school setting 20 miles outside of a major U.S. city. ASP demonstrates how it can act as a practice of social justice within a community of practice. Students reported that ASP influenced their awareness of self and others and through their perceived experiences; they were able to transfer their awareness to the outside world. Students attributed their musical success to their unique musical-making experience formed through motivation, peer modeling and discovery of others’ musical capacity. This study asserts that using ASP in an orchestra can satisfy measures of musical performance and promote an equitable classroom in which students can form socially just principles to use as members of society.

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More Information

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Custodero, Lori
Degree
Ed.D., Columbia University
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