Conductor and youth orchestra: rehearsal professionalism and curriculum development
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This research offers a critical and constructive approach to orchestral training for youth orchestras alongside a case study tracing the work of a New Zealand high school orchestra and its conductor over three years. Exploring the challenges facing the non-professional conductor of a youth or school level orchestra, this research reviews, trials and develops practical ways by which a conductor may develop their individual skills alongside that of their orchestra.
School and youth orchestras provide a starting point for future professional players and amateur performers, offering a foundation for music learning and ensemble engagement. The ways in which these ensembles are managed and led can help shape careers for future musicians.
The challenges arising from being a conductor of a school or youth orchestra are numerous, complex, and not new to most music educators. A prevalent lack of regular training when taking on an orchestral leadership role has an impact on the ability to guide an ensemble with confidence and skill. This may result in a challenging transition for the educator, thus affecting the ensemble they lead.
This project investigates: establishing orchestral goals; programming repertoire; analysing and preparing scores; auditioning and arranging the ensemble; assigning leadership roles; planning and scheduling rehearsals; and rehearsal strategies. The case study investigates challenges and develops tools and resources, based on both a critique of the literature and actual examples from the case study. Areas for further extension of this research are also suggested.