NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
PDF on ERIC Download full text
ERIC Number: EJ1102264
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-2379-9021
Score Study Practices of Texas High School Choir Directors
Rohwer, Debbie; Herring, Michelle; Moore, Jordan
Texas Music Education Research, p29-35 2014
Score study combines the task of what music educators do to prepare for class everyday with many of the components that are taught in collegiate theory classes. While non-research articles have cited the practical application of score study techniques, there is a need for research on score study to describe the ways choral educators pragmatically use the musical knowledge they learned in college. The purpose of the current study was to describe score study practices of high school choir directors, with specific sub-questions being: (1) what steps do directors take when studying a score? (2) what musical components do the directors highlight as significant to their score study of a piece? and (3) which of the musical components do the directors see as a priority to introduce to their students in class, and why? Twenty Texas high school choral directors from 5A (n = 17) and 4A (n = 3) high schools were interviewed for the current study. Participants were given a 44-measure, Grade IV high school choral score that was written for use in the current study. In stage one, the participants were asked to study the score as they would normally in preparation for teaching the piece, and the interviewers observed their processes. Participants were then asked to describe the musical components that were significant to their score study. In stage two, the interviewers then prompted participants regarding identification of other musical components not mentioned in the initial prompt in order to have comprehensive data on the musical concepts that were measured in the study. Finally, the interviewers asked the participants which of the musical concepts that they described were priorities to introduce to the high school choir students in their classes. All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed for analysis. In the current study, most participants studied their score linearly, from beginning to end. When the participants discussed their score study of musical concepts, the most common trend was to highlight single line melodic examples. It appears that a primary purpose of initial score study for the majority of the participants was to prepare for challenges that might occur in rehearsals for single voice parts, such as tenor line chromaticism or leaps. In their score study, the largest number of participants used the visual-without-sound-source score study technique, which aligns with the music theory pedagogy literature as a higher level score study skill (Karpinski, 2000). The most common musical components that were identified by choral directors without any prompting from the researchers were rhythmic complexities, form/text, and texture; the least common musical concepts that were addressed were cadences, non-harmonic tones, and sequences. The most commonly cited teaching priorities in this study were phrasing, rhythmic complexities, and key centers. The least commonly cited teaching priorities in this study were non-harmonic tones, texture, and sequences. [Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Texas Music Educators Association (San Antonio, TX, Feb 2014).]
Texas Music Educators Association. 7900 Centre Park Drive, Austin, TX 78754. Tel: 512-452-0710; Fax: 512-451-9213; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A