The Practice of Practice: A Collective Case Study of How Music Practice is Conceived, Executed, and Learned by Professional Musicians in Four Genres of Music
Practice is a fundamental skill for all musicians of every level. Currently, research on music practice has investigated practice primarily in Western art music traditions. This collective case study of music practice expands the scope of genres being investigated to include Western classical, U. S. popular, jazz, and Indian classical musical traditions. Semi-structured interviews and an information-gathering survey were used to uncover the concepts, execution, and learning trajectories of music practice for two professional musicians from each genre.
The research questions for this study are as follows: 1. What does the concept of practice mean to accomplished classical, U.S. popular, jazz, and Indian classical musicians? 2. What are the components of effective practice for these genres of music according to expert practitioners? 3. How have accomplished musicians in these traditions learned to practice effectively?
Participant data show evidence that definitions of music practice included more activities than those investigated thus far in the research record, and that music practice was more enjoyable than unenjoyable, a finding in direct opposition to the most-cited definition of practice in the literature. In addition, this dissertation proposed an organizational structure for research literature on music practice in order to provide a framework that highlights gaps in the research record and fosters a coherent agenda for future research.