Johnson, Scott Robert

A Description of Selected Aspects of Musical Experience From the Students’ Perspective Within the Context of a Secondary Orchestra Rehearsal: A Qualitative Case Study
This study was conceived as an effort to contribute to ongoing research at Northwestern University’s Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience (CSEME). The research problem was to describe selected aspects of musical experience which were derived from student perspectives and were contextually supported. Employing field-study techniques of observation, interviews, and questionnaires, a description of selected aspects of musical experience from the students’ perspective within the context of a secondary orchestra rehearsal emerged. The perspectives of musical experience were elicited through a self-questioning technique. Much of the study’s raw data are included in several appendixes. A qualitative analysis of these data revealed three aspects of musical experience (each aspect encompassed several dimensions). The psychosocial aspect included five dimensions: (1) playing music should be enjoyable, (2) desire for recognition, (3) competition versus cooperation, (4) perceived student attitudes affect the experience, and (5) pragmatic issues. The teacher’s role as an aspect included four dimensions: (1) perceptions, (2) rehearsal strategies, (3) teacher expectations, and (4) an expressed need for additional teachers. The aspect of musical awareness included three dimensions: (1) experiential knowledge, (2) conceptual/technical development, and (3) musical responsiveness.

Based upon this study, it was concluded that insight into the nature of musical experience from participants at the learning level could be gained through a qualitative case study. The study’s findings provided alternative insights relative to the ongoing research efforts of CSEME. In addition, alternative student perspectives were found within this specific setting which variously affected each student’s musical experience. The findings had an immediate impact upon the participants (both teacher and students) and were applied by the participants to improve this rehearsal setting. Thus, it was concluded that this method of research promoted collaboration among the researcher and participants which resulted in knowledge that was useful and helpful to the participants.

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