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A DOCTORAL DOCUMENT Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Musical Arts, Major: Music, Under the Supervision of Professor Tyler White. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2011
Copyright 2011 Tobin E. Stewart


Beginning conducting textbooks are structured so as to privilege the mastery of generic conducting gestures over the foundations of developing an aural image through score study which in turn stimulates effective and natural body movement. Rather than deriving motion from an aural image, students are expected to show proficiency with generic gestures applied to score markings. In learning these gestures, students not only struggle to develop coordination and effective movement, but they also fail to recognize inorganic and unhealthy movement habits and how these influence performers.

Rather than structuring a course around generic techniques, this document proposes to start with what is foundational to the art: the music represented in the score. By beginning with score study, students will develop an aural image of the music. Descriptors like quick or sustained, which students generate from their aural images, can then relate to principles of body movement codified by Rudolf Laban and Frederick Alexander. With the aural image in their minds and an understanding of natural movement principles, students can begin to move in ways that will effectively influence ensemble members. Specific technical skills, like conducting metrical patterns, can then be applied to refine and focus the movement that students generate from their internalization of the score. Revising the sequence and emphasis of the components of conducting pedagogy will help students effectively and efficiently acquire and develop skills needed to influence performers toward an aesthetic musical experience.

Advisor: Tyler White

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