Analysis of instructional time use and preferred teaching strategies of three highly successful choral directors



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Texas Tech University


This was an observational study of three highly successful choral directors working with middle school, high school, college and adult church choirs. Each director was observed and videotaped working with a beginning-level and an advanced-level ensemble in their home rehearsal settings. A total of six rehearsals were recorded. The videos were analyzed using SCRIBE software (Duke & Stammen, 2007). Analysis focused on 1) overall time use in rehearsal, 2) specific musical elements targeted during instruction, 3) use of specific teaching strategies during instruction and 4) instructional activity during performance time. In addition, post-rehearsal interviews were conducted with each director immediately following their rehearsals.

Results showed few differences in overall time use. Similarities and differences in were found in the targeted musical elements, with greater time spent in the less experienced choirs on pitch instruction and vocal production and greater time spent in the more experienced choirs on phrasing. The analysis of instructional strategies revealed a greater use of conducting in the experienced choirs and a greater use of teacher modeling in the younger, less experienced choirs. Data from the interview transcripts revealed several common traits among these directors. All three exhibited the ability to quickly shift from one teaching strategy to another when needed, a desire to develop the musicianship skills of their ensemble, and an awareness of some of the unique needs of their particular choirs.



Choral, Choral directors, Teaching strategies