Event Title

Director, Artist, Facilitator… Catalyst: Disruption and Sustainability of Music Leadership Within a School-University Partnership Project

Start Date

1-6-2011 2:00 PM

End Date

1-6-2011 2:30 PM

Description

The Inspire project is a partnership between a research university in the southeastern United States and an urban public middle school performing arts department. The impetus for Inspire derives from Musical Futures Connect projects at the Guildhall School of Music and Dance in London, UK. As principal-investigator, I developed a formative and experiential understanding of Connect projects through participant-observation of a Guildhall project, interview of Connect artistic director, Sean Gregory, and an interview with Guildhall graduate musical leadership programme alumnus, Lise Vaugeois. Key componnts of musical leadership within Connect projects are the ability to perform diverse roles and to engage in creative collaboration and flexible performance skills. Inspire emerged as an opportunity for the performing arts teachers (band, chorus, general music, dance, and drama) to collaborate within an integrative project. Within Connect projects, a selected cultural theme becomes a catalyst for musical exploration and experimentation while combining and blending large and small performing groups. The study documents the first year of the project (2009), whose theme explored African and African-American female musicians. The performing arts teachers sought to disrupt their previous compartmentalized presentations of Black History Month by creating a deeper process that developed performance and artistic skills in homogeneous classes and provided opportunity for creative collaboration between the classes. University doctoral students in music education and community artists worked extensively within the project to develop the process. The study asked what were the formative and experiential dimensions of the Inspire project in its first year (2009). The primary data source was focus group interviews with the performing arts teachers in the middle and end of the first year’s project, and after I had analyzed the data and presented findings to them as primary stakeholders in the project through the approach of fourth generation evaluation (Guba & Lincoln, 1989). One of the primary dimensions that emerged from the data was dynamics of music leadership. The performing arts teachers identified they engaged as director, artist, and facilitator within the project. All strongly identified as directors: in particular the need to direct technical and artistic skill development within the ensemble. All identified strongly as artists. They simultaneously acknowledged the need to be an artist in the classroom even though their focus on skill development shifted them to director behaviour. While some music teachers identified strongly as professional improvisors, they indicated they needed deepened pedagogic experience creating improvisation structures for students. While the teachers expressed discomfort in the role of facilitator, they identified the doctoral students and community artists facilitated and enabled greater opportunity for improvisation with students. The final interview resulted in the teachers: (1) recognizing their role as catalysts for students’ creativity and artistic development and (2) making strategic decisions that will act as catalysts for the sustainability of upcoming projects.

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Jun 1st, 2:00 PM Jun 1st, 2:30 PM

Director, Artist, Facilitator… Catalyst: Disruption and Sustainability of Music Leadership Within a School-University Partnership Project

The Inspire project is a partnership between a research university in the southeastern United States and an urban public middle school performing arts department. The impetus for Inspire derives from Musical Futures Connect projects at the Guildhall School of Music and Dance in London, UK. As principal-investigator, I developed a formative and experiential understanding of Connect projects through participant-observation of a Guildhall project, interview of Connect artistic director, Sean Gregory, and an interview with Guildhall graduate musical leadership programme alumnus, Lise Vaugeois. Key componnts of musical leadership within Connect projects are the ability to perform diverse roles and to engage in creative collaboration and flexible performance skills. Inspire emerged as an opportunity for the performing arts teachers (band, chorus, general music, dance, and drama) to collaborate within an integrative project. Within Connect projects, a selected cultural theme becomes a catalyst for musical exploration and experimentation while combining and blending large and small performing groups. The study documents the first year of the project (2009), whose theme explored African and African-American female musicians. The performing arts teachers sought to disrupt their previous compartmentalized presentations of Black History Month by creating a deeper process that developed performance and artistic skills in homogeneous classes and provided opportunity for creative collaboration between the classes. University doctoral students in music education and community artists worked extensively within the project to develop the process. The study asked what were the formative and experiential dimensions of the Inspire project in its first year (2009). The primary data source was focus group interviews with the performing arts teachers in the middle and end of the first year’s project, and after I had analyzed the data and presented findings to them as primary stakeholders in the project through the approach of fourth generation evaluation (Guba & Lincoln, 1989). One of the primary dimensions that emerged from the data was dynamics of music leadership. The performing arts teachers identified they engaged as director, artist, and facilitator within the project. All strongly identified as directors: in particular the need to direct technical and artistic skill development within the ensemble. All identified strongly as artists. They simultaneously acknowledged the need to be an artist in the classroom even though their focus on skill development shifted them to director behaviour. While some music teachers identified strongly as professional improvisors, they indicated they needed deepened pedagogic experience creating improvisation structures for students. While the teachers expressed discomfort in the role of facilitator, they identified the doctoral students and community artists facilitated and enabled greater opportunity for improvisation with students. The final interview resulted in the teachers: (1) recognizing their role as catalysts for students’ creativity and artistic development and (2) making strategic decisions that will act as catalysts for the sustainability of upcoming projects.