Activities and philosophical principles employed in selected Indiana high school choral departments

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Turley, Philip William
Amman, Douglas D.
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Thesis (D.A.)
School of Music
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The purpose of this study was to investigate and compare the music education philosophy statements of high school choral directors and principals with the choral activities in which the students at their schools were involved. Additionally, the degree and type of evaluation used by the principals and directors were observed. The principals, choral directors, and choral departments of 12 high schools were studied.Statistical information including school and choral department enrollment, departmental structure, traditional and specialized choir performance schedules, rehearsal schedules, and repertoire performed was gathered and analyzed. A comparison of statements of choral directors and principals pertaining to desired choral department changes, justification of both traditional and specialized choirs, and perceived influences of specialized choirs is also presented.Main Conclusions1. Statistical information revealed five of the departments to be strong in swing/show choircharacteristics, three to be strong in traditional choir characteristics, three to be transitional and/or struggling, and one to be strong in both swing/show choir and traditional characteristics.2. The students in eight of the choral departments did not perform music from a wide variety of stylistic and historical sources. Two departments performed 95 percent or more traditional choral literature. The other six, which lacked repertoire balance, performed a high percentage of non-traditional literature (popular or popular style, etc.).3. The concurrent membership rule (specialized choir members must also be in a traditional choir) was in effect in five schools and was desired in two others. Exclusion of the rule allowed some students to miss the study of traditional choral literature, decreased the emphasis on traditional select choirs, and increased the likelihood that specialized choirs might be scheduled as credit courses.4. Neither musical nor utilitarian justifications for choirs in public schools were mentioned predominantly. The principals offered slightly more utilitarian than musical justifications, especially for specialized choirs.5. The principals and choral directors carefully evaluated the choral activities in terms of performance excellence. Little evidence was found of other evaluation criteria, such as development of more comprehensive musical experiences, student creative skills, musical appreciation, or aesthetic sensitivity.