Theses Doctoral

Are U.S. Violin Majors Ready? An Exploratory Study of Violin Professors’ Perceptions

Yuen, Maureen

This dissertation explores the perceived readiness of potential violin majors (PVMs) in the United States for university-level violin study. The purpose of this study was to explore violin professors’ expectations of PVMs in the United States, their perceptions of how these expectations are being met, and how PVMs can be prepared to meet these expectations. A lack of research into how PVMs in the United States are being prepared for the rigors of university-level violin study warranted investigation to define violin professors’ expectations and their perceptions of the preparedness of PVMs.

A descriptive instrumental exploratory study was conducted using qualitative and descriptive statistical data with 121 participants (n = 121). The participants were tenure-track and tenured violin professors in the United States who have taught for at least three years at universities accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and whose teaching loads consist of a minimum of 75% applied violin lessons. Participants were asked to define their ideal expectations of PVMs, their perceptions of how these expectations have been met, and advice they have for the adults who help prepare PVMs. Data were collected online through a Qualtrics survey and Zoom video interviews.

The findings indicated that violin professors generally agreed upon their expectations of PVMs, which include having a solid technical foundation, performing repertoire that is aligned with their technical development, and being open-minded. Violin professors perceived that less than 50% of PVMs have a solid technical foundation and less than 50% perform developmentally appropriate repertoire, though most PVMs were perceived to demonstrate an openness to learning. Most violin professors accept PVMs into their studios whom they perceive to be unready for university-level study, usually due to administrative pressure.

To meet violin professors’ expectations, they suggest that PVMs work with private violin teachers outside of the K-12 music classroom. Private violin teachers should hold PVMs to a high performing standard, be familiar with violin professors’ expectations, and have the subject matter knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge necessary to develop a solid technical foundation and assign level-appropriate repertoire. Other influential adults include K-12 music teachers, although learning outcomes for K-12 music classes differ significantly from violin professors’ expectations.

Overall, this study demonstrated a clear disconnect between violin professors’ expectations and how PVMs are being prepared to meet them. The data showed that participants made the following assumptions: (a) PVMs take private lessons and are already “apprentices” working with a “master,” (b) audition websites present adequate information for PVMs, and (c) private teachers have the subject matter knowledge to prepare PVMs to meet technical expectations and perform with high standards. There appears to be an overall lack of communication and collaboration not just from violin professors, but also from private teachers and K-12 classroom music teachers.

Recommendations for practice and implementation are offered to the three identified populations that interact with PVMs: violin professors, private teachers, and K-12 classroom music teachers.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Parkes, Kelly A.
Goffi-Fynn, Jeanne Corinne
Ed.D.C.T., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 2, 2021