Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2012

Degree Name

DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Jones, William LaRue

First Committee Member

Stalter, Timothy

Second Committee Member

Heidel, Richard M

Third Committee Member

Conklin, Scott

Fourth Committee Member

Rutledge, Christine


The purpose of this study is to collect a variety of conducting texts and resources and assess which texts, if any, suggested pedagogical techniques that make appropriations for various learning styles of individuals in the ensemble. The term learning styles is derived from Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences wherein he makes the assertion that every person possesses the nine intelligences and that each person has a natural disposition to at least one intelligence (or learning style). After having evaluated numerous conducting texts and resources, there exists a lack of assessing and teaching to learning styles. Most conducting curricula do not give attention to the idea that the musicians and students represent many learning styles and need to be provided with a variety of examples to enhance their understanding of the music. Consequently, enhancing understanding raises the level of their musicianship and elevates the overall quality of the ensemble and music program.

The most significant contributor in music education to integrating pedagogical techniques that address a broad range of learning styles is Edward S. Lisk. A former band director and now an internationally renown clinician and conductor, Mr. Lisk has written several books on alternative rehearsal strategies. His most recent book, The Creative Director: Conductor, Teacher, Leader, briefly explains how the Theory of Multiple Intelligences is uniquely suited for both the conductor and the students. Mr. Lisk's claims regarding the benefits of teaching to multiple learning styles focus on individual enhancement and understanding of playing a instrument and to provide compelling evidence to administrators, parents, and the community to show the inherent value of a music program.

This study acknowledges and supports Lisk's observations and claims, but sets out to enhance musical understanding and performance levels through rehearsal techniques that address multiple learning styles. Before providing a model for incorporating pedagogical techniques that address multiple learning styles, assessment methods of student's MI (multiple intelligences) will assist the conductor in determining what types of intelligences the students possess. When this information is gathered, a conductor/music educator can begin to infuse examples into the rehearsal.

The final goal of this study is to present several rehearsal strategies categorized by each MI as a model as to how conductor/educators can incorporate pedagogical strategies into their rehearsals to draw each student into a deeper understanding of the music, raise the level of musicianship, which promotes more expressive music-making. These rehearsal strategies can be utilized with technical or expressive issues. For example, a director is teaching the string section the difference between playing accompanimental motor rhythms in Mozart to those of Beethoven. For the visual-spatial learner, drawing a diagram on the board showing the trajectory shape of the bow across the string can assist the student by seeing what each bow stroke looks like. For a bodily-kinesthetic learner, showing what each bow stroke looks like, allowing the student to try it, and solidifying understanding with feeling the difference of each stroke and recognizing how each sounds. As an additional strategy to the former, the director could have each section demonstrate each bow stroke and ask the other students for feedback that incorporates a technique for the interpersonal learning style. Further examples with suggestions for expressive aspects of music for various learning styles are also included.


Instrumental Conducting, Musicianship, Orchestral Conducting


vi, 148 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 141-148).


Copyright 2012 Christopher Herbert Fashun

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