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Developing Ensemble Musicians

McCaleb, J Murphy (2014) Developing Ensemble Musicians. In: From Output to Impact: The integration of artistic research results into musical training. Proceedings of the 2014 ORCiM Seminar, 19–20 November 2014, Orpheus Research Centre in Music, Ghent.. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Strategies for teaching ensemble performance within higher education are highly idiosyncratic, raising the question of whether more systematic approaches to this pedagogy may be available. Although most music courses include modules on ensemble performance, delivery of these modules varies widely. Whilst previous research has posited how sociological theories may help guide ensemble development (Goodman 2002, Davidson and King 2004, and King 2006, for example), further application of these theories to pedagogy has been limited. Thus, teachers and facilitators may not find the resources and training necessary to improve their delivery and impact upon students.

In previous artistic research I have conducted on ensemble interaction, I describe the role that embodied knowledge plays in observing others’ performances, inferring musical intentions, and modifying interpretations to achieve shared intentions across an ensemble (McCaleb 2014). As the beginning of a larger study on how these findings may be applied to pedagogy, this paper presents my methodology for coaching student ensembles at York St John University. Throughout this academic year, I will use lesson observations, performance observations, surveys, and interviews to determine fundamental, transferable strategies for developing ensembles. As these groups are led by the students, it is important to encourage the reflective critical skills which are both inherent in artistic research as well as the self-sufficiency called for in all professional musicians. I argue that effective performance within musical ensembles requires the use of several adaptable skills, particularly awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings, flexibility of interpretation, and the technical fluency required to allow both to happen. In combination with my own artistic practice as a chamber musician, this preliminary research will offer systematic strategies for helping musicians develop the skills required for expert ensemble performance.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Unpublished
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
M Music and Books on Music > MT Musical instruction and study
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/1302

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