"Making the Change": Middle School Band Students' Perspectives on the Learning of Musical-Technical Skills in Jazz Performance

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Students' perspectives in jazz education have gone largely ignored. A modified analytic inductive design allowed me to look broadly at the students' jazz band experience while specifically investigating their views about playing individualized parts, improvising, and interpreting and articulating swing rhythms. A focus group procedure was altered (Krueger, 1995) and incorporated into my teaching of 19 students. Two 30 minute sessions per week over a 12 week period were video- and audiotaped. Audiotaped exit interviews provided data in a non-social environment. All data were transcribed and coded in order to identify major themes and trends. Conclusions were verified through member ... continued below

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vii, 400 leaves : ill.

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Leavell, Brian K. August 1996.

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  • Leavell, Brian K.

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Students' perspectives in jazz education have gone largely ignored. A modified analytic inductive design allowed me to look broadly at the students' jazz band experience while specifically investigating their views about playing individualized parts, improvising, and interpreting and articulating swing rhythms. A focus group procedure was altered (Krueger, 1995) and incorporated into my teaching of 19 students. Two 30 minute sessions per week over a 12 week period were video- and audiotaped. Audiotaped exit interviews provided data in a non-social environment. All data were transcribed and coded in order to identify major themes and trends. Conclusions were verified through member checks, several types of triangulation and other qualitative analysis techniques. Trustworthiness was determined through an audit. Cognitively and physically, students had to accommodate musical techniques as these differed from those used in concert band. Some students were confused by the new seating arrangement and the playing of individualized parts. While some students could perform distinctly different swing and straight interpretations of the same song without external cues, others could only perform this task with external cues. Some changes in articulation were well within the students' capabilities while other techniques were more difficult to accommodate. Several students felt 'uptight' while they improvised alone in front of their peers, noting group improvisation and rhythmic embellishment of familiar tunes as being helpful in assuaging these feelings. Students recognized the environmental differences between concert band and jazz band, and reported more freedom of expression in jazz band. Particularly enjoying this freedom, the more willing improvisors banded together as a clique. The students' learning was viewed as being situated in the context of jazz band. 'Musical perturbation' and cognitive apprenticeship described students' physical and cognitive accommodation of the new context. The instructional strategies students found to be most helpful were student-centered and derived from cognitive behavior modification and scaffolding theory.

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vii, 400 leaves : ill.

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  • August 1996

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Leavell, Brian K. "Making the Change": Middle School Band Students' Perspectives on the Learning of Musical-Technical Skills in Jazz Performance, dissertation, August 1996; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277968/: accessed September 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .