A comparative study of teaching behaviors of band orchestra directors in ensemble rehearsals



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The purpose of this study is a comparative analysis of teaching behaviors between band and orchestra directors in secondary school rehearsals with their top performing groups. Though comparative studies of teaching behaviors among band directors and orchestra directors have been conducted, few have compared band teachers to orchestra teachers. The focus of this study was to determine what differences exist, if any, between the teaching behaviors of band directors and those of orchestra directors, and to make recommendations for teaching pre-service instrumental music teachers. Participants (N = 8) were full-time middle and high school directors of either band or orchestra in four Texas public school districts. Each participant was video recorded while rehearsing the varsity (or most advanced) performing group. Participants recorded three rehearsals within a two-week time period yielding recordings from a total of 12 band rehearsals and 12 orchestra rehearsals. Teaching behaviors were then analyzed using the Simple Computer Recording Interface for Behavioral Evaluation (SCRIBE) software developed by Duke and Stammen (2007). The data were reported according to the frequency with which each behavior occurred, the average amount of time expended for each behavior, and the percentage of overall time accrued for each behavior. Specific behaviors observed were:

  1. Pacing (time usage): Warm-up, Tuning, Transitions, Student Activity, and Teacher Activity
  2. Verbal Communications: Approval, Disapproval, Teacher Speech, Student Questions and Student Responses
  3. Nonverbal Communications: Eye Contact, Facial Approval, Facial Disapproval, Body Movement, Strict Conducting, Expressive Conducting, Teacher Modeling, and Student Modeling. The results indicated that, though behaviors among successful band and orchestra teachers were similar regarding teacher activity time, student activity time, and verbal approval, differences existed in the amount of time spent on warming-up, tuning, teacher speech, questions and responses, body movement, conducting, eye contact and facial expressions. On average, orchestra teachers spent a greater percentage of time tuning, talking, and asking/answering questions. They were more likely to show facial expression (positive and negative) and used general body movement more to convey expression in music. Band teachers spent a higher percentage of time warming up, conducting, and modeling. They were more likely to maintain eye contact with students for a greater percentage of time, as well. Transition time in rehearsals, however, was different between directors based on years of experience rather than on which ensemble they directed. Results are discussed in terms of implications for future research, pre-service music teacher education programs and current classroom instrumental teachers.



Teaching behaviors, Band, Orchestra, Ensemble, Rehearsal