Type of Document Dissertation Author Acklin, Amy I. Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-07152009-091518 Title The Effect of Conducting on Ensemble Performance: A "Best-Evidence" Synthesis Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Music, College of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Clifford K. Madsen Committee Chair Patrick Dunnigan Committee Member Richard Clary Committee Member Steven Kelly Committee Member Alexander Jiménez Outside Committee Member Keywords
- Best-Evidence Synthesis
- Ensemble Performance
- Conducting Pedagogy
- Expressive Conducting
Date of Defense 2009-06-15 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe first purpose of this study was to provide an overview of experimental and descriptive research lines within the field of conducting. The findings of this literature search reflect the tremendous growth of inquiries and findings since the 1970’s (Ostling, 1976). Research studies were broadly categorized into two overarching themes: conducting competencies and conducting pedagogy. Lines within conducting competencies included: 1) nonverbal communication, 2) perception studies, and 3) teacher/conductor effectiveness. Conducting pedagogy revealed studies in 1) methodology, 2) physical/aural skill development, and 3) conducting technology.
The second purpose of this study was to examine the effect of conducting on ensemble performance through the meta-analytic techniques of “best-evidence synthesis.” Developed by Robert Slavin (1986), this process compares similar studies through the common statistical metric of effect size. Results can then be discussed for practical applications in the relative terms of small effect size: d = .2; medium effect size: d = .5; and large effect size: d = .8 (Cohen, 1977).
Twenty-three studies, divided into five categories, met the inclusion criteria. Results from studies examining expressive versus nonexpressive conducting on the impact of ensemble sound were mixed. While some research suggested that expressive conducting only influences listener perceptions, other research indicated that specific conducting gestures do, in fact, shape the sound of an ensemble. Results also suggested a positive and large effect size in the area of conducting-gesture instruction with young ensembles. Other studies examined the effect of conducting in combination with verbal and modeling rehearsal techniques. Conducting gestures were effective, but only within a combination of other rehearsal techniques, suggesting that many skills define conductor competencies. Lastly, studies were examined to explore the synchronization between conductor and ensemble members. Results suggest that musicians with previous conducting experience maintain steadier tempi while following a conductor than musicians without conducting training.
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