A descriptive analysis of modes of communication in sequential patterns of intonational instruction employed by selected high school band directors

Andrea DeRenzis Strauss


The purpose of this study was to investigate and compare the percentage of instructional time two groups of selected high school band directors spend on intonational instruction with their top concert band ensembles during concert festival preparation. Additional purposes were to investigate how selected directors and their students communicate intonational concerns during instructional time, and whether or not a three-step sequential pattern of teaching intonation was employed. Furthermore, the percentage of warm-up time directors and students spend on employing tuning, tuning approaches and responses to tuning approaches were investigated. Background information about directors and their band programs was obtained for comparison between the two groups. Whether or not directors employed the natural pitch tendencies of wind instruments as an approach to teaching intonation was also investigated. Matched demographic information from Georgia high school student population data served as the basis for selecting subjects. Schools were matched according to percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunches (under 2.6%), school size, grade levels (9-12), and drop-out rate (under 1.4%). Matched demographic information minimized external variables that may affect intonation. As a result, six veteran Georgia high school band directors were selected. Group A consisted of three directors whose ensembles had been selected to perform at a national or international convention, conference, or concert competition. Group B consisted of three directors whose ensembles had not been selected. For the purposes of this study, the two groups differed only with respect to having had ensembles perform at international or national concert band events. Subjects were videotaped during the same time of year conducting their top concert band ensembles in preparation for district concert festivals. Independent t-tests were used to compare differences between the two groups. Results indicate that Group A directors spent significantly more instructional time on addressing intonational concerns by employing verbal communication, allowing students to respond by playing their instruments, and providing feedback by employing verbal communication than Group B. It can be concluded that Group A spent significantly more instructional time on intonational instruction than Group B.