Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Novice Music Teachers Learning to Improvise in an Improvisation Professional Development Workshop
by Filsinger, Mark H., Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2013, 466; 3555020
Abstract (Summary)

With the intent of improving music improvisation pedagogy, the purpose of this research was to examine experiences of six novice music teachers and a professional development facilitator in an eight-week Improvisation Professional Development Workshop (IPDW). The research questions were: 1. How do teachers learn to improvise within the context of a group improvisation workshop? 2. What is the nature of participants' improvisation achievement? 3. How do participants define improvisation's role in music teaching and learning? and 4. What recommendations do participants have for future Improvisation Professional Development Workshops? Participants engaged in individual pre- and post-workshop interviews and weekly group meetings. They also shared recorded solos and reflections in weekly posts to an on-line private Facebook page.

Using an instrumental case study design (Creswell, 2007; Stake, 1995) with social constructivist principles (Guba & Lincoln, 2005; Patton, 2002; Schmidt, 1994; Stanley, 2009), I described participants' (a) current teaching positions and prior improvisation teaching and learning experiences; (b) repertoire and curriculum for learning to improvise; (c) individual and collective improvisation learning; (d) perceptions of improvisation in music teaching and learning; and (e) recommendations for future IPDWs.

As participants learned to improvise individually and collectively throughout the workshop, they discovered that (a) interacting with repertoire and interacting as a group were essential for learning to improvise; and (b) improvisation is an integral component of music teaching and learning. They recommended that IPDWs for novice music teachers should (a) prioritize development of personal improvisation skills; (b) be hands-on and engaging; (c) employ scaffolded improvisation instruction; (d) occur over an extended time period; (e) include appropriate and stimulating repertoire; (f) highlight connections among audiating, improvising vocally, and improvising instrumentally, and relationships between improvisation and related music skills; (g) occur in a small group-learning environment; (h) be facilitated by an expert improviser who has experience guiding improvisation skill development; and (i) include between-session improvisation assignments.

Though participants believed strongly that initial IPDWs should include improvisation skill development, they recommended that follow-up professional development opportunities should also integrate improvisation-teaching skills.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Azzara, Christopher D.
Commitee: Campbell, Jeffrey, Conway, Colleen M., Grunow, Richard F.
School: University of Rochester
Department: Eastman School of Music
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 74/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music, Music education, Teacher education
Keywords: Music improvisation, Pedagogy, Professional development, Workshops
Publication Number: 3555020
ISBN: 978-1-267-96090-0
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