Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



While there has been much systematic investigation of observable conductor behaviors, little examination has taken place of the listening habits and thought processes of conductors while in the act of evaluative listening. These cognitive elements are critical because they are the impetus for the decision-making that leads to conductor rehearsal behaviors. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the thinking of accomplished school based band conductors. How do they evaluate musical performance—less so the evaluation, more so the thinking that informs the evaluation? A grounded theory-like approach was integrated in cross-case study methodology to answer inquiries about the listening processes of three “levels” of accomplished band conductor— a university conductor, an experienced secondary music conductor, and a young secondary music conductor. A think aloud protocol generated data across three sets of listening activities designed to stimulate verbal responses to the evaluative listening act. Analysis uncovered three cross-case themes that provide entry points into how accomplished conductors think while listening. More specifically, results expose through self-report the “triggers” for the thoughts or the perceived causes of this or that focus of attention relative to music performance. The three cross-case themes that triggered listening were 1) prior context-neutral knowledge/experience, 2) prior contextualized knowledge/experience, and 3) in-the-moment decision making. Applications of results are discussed in the context of music teacher education.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Byo, James



Included in

Music Commons