An Investigation of Student Analysis and Interpretation in the Choral Rehearsal

November 16, 2011 / By: Katie G. Larson

The purpose of this thesis was to determine the ways in which choral music educators involve students in the analysis/interpretation of choral music during rehearsals.  The researcher in this study reviewed resources for choral music educators in order to explore how involving students in analysis and interpretation in the choral classroom may help students develop musical independence.  Strategies for student involvement were collected, and a theoretical model was developed for involving students in the score analysis and interpretation processes.   The goals of the study were to provide high school choral music educators with strategies to involve students and to help educators place more emphasis on process instead of just performance.

Strategies from the literature for involving students in the analysis process were collected and organized into the following categories:  (1) Textual Significance and Meaning; (2) Form; (3) Rhythm, Melody, and Harmony; (4) Timbre; (5) Texture; and (6) Expression and Interpretation.  The theoretical model provided strategies in these same categories.

The researcher found a wealth of literature in support of teaching for musical independence.  All of the texts reviewed in the study addressed analysis and interpretation as essential processes for the choral conductor, but very few of them addressed how to involve students in the same processes.  Although numerous resources did agree there is a need to involve students in analysis and interpretation, more resources are needed to help choral music educators fulfill this need. 

In an effort to assist in that process, the researcher developed a theoretical model that    music educators could consider for use as they teach their students about the process of analysis.  The researcher hopes that choral educators can use the strategies collected in this study to help students perform with a deeper understanding of their music and ultimately become independently functioning musicians.