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Student-Coached Chamber Ensemble Experiences in a High School Music Classroom: An Exploratory Study

Sato, Elisabeth

The purpose of this study was to document the development and implementation of student-coached chamber ensembles within a traditional orchestra setting where students took on roles as chamber music coaches to facilitate student chamber ensemble rehearsals in the preparation of performance. With traditional large ensembles that emphasize whole-group performance dominating secondary music education, there is a lack of empirically based evidence that clarifies procedures for developing high school chamber music programs while working within time constraints of a typical high school music program. This research provides educators with clarity on how to practically incorporate chamber ensemble opportunities in the music classroom. Additionally, the issues of how participation in student-coached chamber ensembles may contribute to musical and social development in areas of creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration for student coaches and players were explored.

Fifteen students in my high school orchestra ensemble volunteered to partake in this study. Three student coaches in grades 11-12, and twelve student players in grade 9, were formed into three ensembles and selected as the focus for this study. Data were collected from January to June 2019, in a high school located in a small suburban town about 25 miles outside a major US city, and consisted of multiple sources of evidence: rehearsal reflection summaries, video recordings of rehearsals and performances, individual and focus group interviews using a video-stimulated recall method, a teacher journal, and additional artifacts.

Findings from a qualitative analysis revealed that participation in student-coached chamber ensembles appears to contribute to musical and social development in areas of creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration for both student coaches and players. In addition to these skills, positive social relationships were formed, students improved in playing more independently, a greater sense of individual responsibility and levels of self-confidence increased, and skills acquired from this experience translated to other areas. This experience allowed students an opportunity for more active engagement in the rehearsal process and choice in repertoire, and as the teacher-researcher, gaps in my own instruction emerged. Results from this study show that student-coached chamber ensembles can positively impact students’ learning experiences and teacher instruction.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Abeles, Harold F.
Degree
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
February 27, 2020