An Investigation of Elementary General Music Educators' Use of the Informance Model of Public Perfo

July 12, 2010 / By: Serene Patton Robeson

The intent of this thesis was to examine how elementary general music educators define and use informances.  This study examines three specific sub-problems: (1) To what extent do elementary music educators include informances as part of their curriculum?  (2) How do elementary music educators define an informance?  ( 3) Why do elementary music educators choose to use informances?

Ninety music educators who teach elementary general music in the Seattle area were invited to complete an online survey.  Forty-four educators responded to the survey, and thirty-six of these respondents indicated they use informances as part of their music curriculum.  The subjects completed a series of Likert-type questions regarding eight elements of informances: participants, audience, format, content, venue, frequency, duration, and rationale.  The results of the survey are displayed on a series of bar graphs in chapter four, with each bar graph representing the results of an individual survey question. 

The data collected suggest the use of informances is widespread among Seattle-area general music educators.  Survey results also show the definitions of informance found in music education literature are consistent with how the term is applied by practicing music educators.  Teachers in the survey consider a defining characteristic of informances to be the explicit information presented to the audience that describes the learning that has taken place.  Teachers use large and small groups of student participants when presenting informances, and audience members are sometimes actively included.  There is strong agreement from survey respondents that parents of participating students most often serve as audience members at informances.  The venue of an informance is usually a common area at the school or the music teacher’s classroom.  Results regarding the frequency and duration of informances are varied, though few educators indicate they use informances as an exclusive means of public presentation during a given school year.  Singing and playing instruments are the two major skill components demonstrated at informances, but other skills such as music reading, notation, movement, drama, and storytelling are also incorporated.

The three main reasons that teachers in this study choose to use informances are (1) to display students’ progress in learning musical concepts and skills; (2) to advocate for the continued or increased inclusion and/or funding of music as part of the school curriculum; (3) to provide enjoyment and entertainment value to both performers and audiences.