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A Phenomenological Study of the Wind Band Experience: Stories of Band

Noble, Jason Lamar

This study is a phenomenological study about band. Stories of band are told through three people of different ages and generations who chose to continue playing an instrument after graduating from high school. A review of the literature and a lack of research from the perspective of the individual led this study to two broad research questions. First, is there such a thing as a “band identity?” I wanted to know how band shaped the lives of three individuals who have spent their lives playing, experiencing, and performing band music. I wanted to discover if there was some sort of essence to band and to understand more about how the concept of self is shaped through participation in band. Second, I wanted to be open to the idea that the telling of stories of band might intersect with my own. The final chapter of the study reflects on my journey as a teacher. On the surface, band may look like any other group activity. But the powerful combination of mastering an instrument, learning how one’s instrument fits into a larger ensemble, and navigating the social and family-like drama as one’s life story unfolds makes the band experience unique. The three study participants were interviewed over nine months using a theoretical “mix tape” approach blending phenomenological inquiry with elements of case study, narrative, short written responses, reflections, and the collecting of artifacts. The participants showed that the band experience is inextricably woven into the identity of individuals who continue to devote time and energy to instrumental music. The band identity is wrapped around and melded with concepts of the power of the group dynamic, the magic and memories formed from devoting time to the activity of music making, the power of music on memory, and the relationships that are built through the activity. This thesis shows that band directors should pay much closer attention to and nurture the value of the individual by listening to the individual soundtracks of their students and working to understand the stories and life experiences that the individual brings to the traditional large ensemble band setting.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Allsup, Randall E.
Degree
Ed.D.C.T., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 22, 2020