The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of non-string performers who teach string orchestra in Suffolk County, New York public schools. This study examined the factors that influence non-string specialists to become string teachers and how they manage the challenges, if any, of teaching a subject in which they have limited or no experience. Forty-two teachers responded to an online survey describing the current population of Suffolk County's non-string specialist regarding string specialization, pre-service education and job assignments. The researcher investigated further through semi-structured interviews with six volunteers to provide valuable insight into the thoughts, beliefs and perceptions of non-string specialists who teach strings.
This study found that teachers remembered taking string methods classes, but had retained very little information that would benefit them in their string teaching careers. Non-string performers reported having difficulty with string techniques such as shifting, bowing and vibrato. They also admitted to lacking knowledge of positions particularly on lower string instruments, and young orchestra literature. Interview participants agreed that methods classes in undergraduate studies should include string performance and pedagogy techniques. Non-string specialists stated that it was necessary for music education students to visit all kinds of music classrooms during their undergraduate studies. They also agreed that it would be beneficial to have student teaching experience in a secondary discipline.
Non-string performers did feel that learning some basic skills on each instrument would benefit their ability to teach and contribute to their students' successes, but they had difficulty finding professional development opportunities that met their needs in the string classroom. Teachers were taking advantage of professional memberships offering workshops focusing on string pedagogy and some non-string performers found these workshops helpful. Yet, many non-string performers preferred a workshop that was specifically tailored to their needs as non-string performers entering the field of string education.
Most all non-string specialists were asked to teach strings classes to fulfill a district need, and the love for and the knowledge of orchestral music was a primary reason for believing that they could manage such a position.
|School:||Teachers College, Columbia University|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/10, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Music, Music education|
|Keywords:||Non-strin performers, Professional development, String orchestra|
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