The experience of learning wind ensemble music through a Dalcroze-inspired approach: an interpretative phenomenological analysis
This interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) aimed to understand the meaning that the members of the North-West University (NWU) Symphonic Wind Ensemble ascribed to their experiences in incorporating a Dalcroze-inspired approach in their wind band rehearsals. The basis of interest in this topic stemmed from the fact that the Dalcroze approach is not widely employed within the instrumental music learning environment in South Africa and, more specifically, within the wind ensemble context. Five students who were members of the NWU Symphonic Wind Ensemble were interviewed for this IPA; they were all at different stages in their studies and had different levels of experience in ensemble playing. Additionally, some of the chosen participants had had previous experiences with the Dalcroze approach through occasional workshops and through their music theory lessons at the NWU School of Music. The NWU Symphonic Wind Ensemble was subjected to several rehearsals in which a Dalcroze-inspired approach was incorporated for the purpose of learning Bernstein's "Mambo". Data were collected by means of in-depth, semi-structured interviews and observational field notes, and analysed by using Atlas.ti 8, where distinctive codes indicated four superordinate themes. The data analysis process revealed that the participants found their musical awareness heightened by the approach. The participants also found the approach to be a socially beneficial and enjoyable experience, and ultimately found that it made their music learning experience easier. The importance of these findings lies in their potential to assist in developing pedagogical methods in ensemble teaching; the possibilities for research in this regard include how Dalcroze-inspired activities could contribute to students' attitudes and confidence in ensemble settings.
- Humanities