The effect of incorporating the principles of Comprehensive Musicianship into high school band warm-ups
Weygandt, Vernon Walter
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The incorporation of the principles of Comprehensive Musicianship in secondary school ensemble rehearsals has often been a strong point of contention, especially the music theory component. High school directors commonly list administrative pressures, lack of rehearsal time, and potential student rejection of non-performance activities as rationale to not incorporate theory. Contrary to these concerns, the possibility to address theory fundamentals is present in a pre-existing portion of the rehearsal – the warm-ups. If the possibility to incorporate the principles of Comprehensive Musicianship into band warm-ups exists, then this may increase student comprehension of musical on a conceptual level, improve technical abilities, and for those interested in studying music in college, assist in preparation for the undergraduate theory core. The purpose of this study was test the feasibility of incorporating theoretical concepts into band warm-ups. First, a review of music education and theory resources was used to determine what is really meant by the term “fundamentals.” Second, an examination of high school ensemble warm-up literature was conducted to determine how these exercises might be altered to address the fundamentals of music. Next, this information was used to compose a short series of exercises that combines fundamentals pedagogy with contemporary ensemble warm-up practices. Finally, the validity of exercises was tested in a study with two high school bands, where one served as the control group and used only a contemporary method book. The following research questions guided the study: 1) Which theoretical concepts can be taught successfully within the context of the large-ensemble warm-up? 2) Does time devoted to teaching theoretical concepts within the warm-up result in a less successful large-ensemble performance? 3) Does theoretical knowledge improve the comprehensive awareness of individual ensemble members? The participants of this study were 10th-12th grade members of the Fannin County High School Band (Blue Ridge, Georgia) and the Peachtree Ridge High School Band (Suwanee, Georgia).