An investigation of band and orchestra literature instruction in undergraduate music education curricula at NASM accredited schools of music
Tobias, Scott Chandler
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The purpose of this study was to investigate instruction provided in band and orchestra literature as part of undergraduate music education curricula at member institutions of the National Association of Schools of Music. A survey of institutions with accredited music education degree programs indicated that instruction in band and orchestra literature occurred in the following manner: Within Another Required Course (63.4%), Through a Required Literature Course (24.4%), and Through an Elective Literature Course (19.5%). For those institutions indicating instruction through another required course, the ranking of those courses types was: Methods Courses (46.5%), Conducting Courses (39.5%), Ensembles (7%), Practicum (4.7%) and Other (2.3%). A comparison of the number of credit hours required for the music education degree, the number of credit hours awarded for the courses, and the percentage of time dedicated to literature instruction, indicated that 0.7% of the total required degree hours were used to discuss literature. A similar comparison indicated that respondents with a required literature course dedicated 2.7% of the total required degree hours to literature instruction. Credit hours earned for elective literature courses accounted for 1.9% of the total degree hours. Respondents indicated an average of 22.3% of music education majors enrolled in the elective courses. Survey questions regarding instructional techniques indicated that Listening, Score Study, and Classroom Discussion were most frequently used. Survey questions regarding curricular content indicated some consistency among responses to provided lists, but a wider variety in content on free response questions. The implication of the study is that a relatively small percentage of time is being dedicated to instruction in the band and orchestra literature that serves as the core of most public school music programs, and, while some consistency exists among curricular content, enough subjective differences exist to warrant additional literature study within undergraduate degree programs.