AST Journal - August 2022

Volume 72, Number 3

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Creativity in Concert: Centering Creative Musicianship in the Orchestra Classroom

David S. Miller 

Teachers can choose to center creativity within their existing ensemble classrooms, with a deliberate shift in musical priorities toward creative musicianship. With a safe and democratic classroom environment and carefully sequenced instruction, teachers can empower students to explore creative musicianship in meaningful ways. When teachers integrate improvisation, composition, soundscapes, and/or narrative as regular components of music instruction and performance, students experience a type of agency and ownership that goes beyond what they typically experience with traditional performances. In this approach, creativity augments the musicianship and music-making already within large ensembles. This model for creativity in concert empowers students to craft their own music, grounded in the contextual framework of traditional ensemble performance.


Alternative to what? Alternative Strings, Colonialism, and Decolonizing the String Curriculum

Mercedes Yvonne Lysaker 


Definitions hold power. They reflect the values, priorities, and beliefs of those who write them, and language holds considerable power to define what is considered normative and what is considered alternative... And so, the question is posed: how do we change? How do we transform the field? How can we authentically manifest progressive string programs that subvert the harms of Western supremacy in favor of artistry, expression, and meaningful, lifelong musicianship for all students? The purpose of this article is to present some ideas about colonialism and decolonization and then connect them to practical ideas aligned with postcolonial theory for transforming our practice by changing what we teach, how we teach, and why we teach. 


Efficient Music Memorization: Start with the Whole

Shawn Boucké 


If the goal is to memorize a piece of music, it should not be a secondary thought following a refinement process. Start the memorization process early and practice frequently. Memorization is not designated for only fiddle players and Baroque chamber musicians. The data show a clear strategy for memorization: start with the whole. The practice of memorization can, and should, be used in the classroom and the private studio to develop more versatile musicians. 


Unpacking the Adult Learner: Scenarios for the Private String Teacher

William Hinkie and Lindsay Genadek 


Our adult students are a very valuable part of our teaching studios. They bring with them a set of unique experiences that require a unique approach. Our experience surveying and studying the findings of adult learners lead us to realize that we need to use a variety of techniques we would not normally use with our younger students. We have found that some of these techniques are useful for students of all ages and ability levels. Changing our perspectives and broadening our skills as teachers allows us to have a greater impact on our entire student population. It is our hope that this article will not only serve as a guide for working with adult learners but also enhance any experienced teacher’s approach to working with all learners. 


Getting the Most Out of Recording Oneself: Recording as Part of Good Practice Habits

Christine Renée Kralik and Selim Giray 


The evolving capabilities of recording technology offer greater ease of access and use to string players: students and professionals alike. It is commonplace for string students to have access to a handheld device, such as smartphones and tablets, with audio and video recording capabilities. These devices also allow for ease of access to electronic tuners, metronomes, and practice journals through various available apps. Using the recording function of these smartphones opens up a world of possibilities for growth and progress in our students’ practices and beyond. 




Creative Metronomes: Digital Audio Workstations and YouTube as Practice Tools in the Strings Studio

Patti Kilroy 


The additional context provided by accompaniment tracks and accountability created through short recording assignments made my students more prepared for their end-of-semester juries. Prior to COVID-19, students would rehearse with the accompanist much later in the semester, creating a rushed, less ideal experience. With accompaniment tracks and regular encouragement to work with those tracks early, students had a far smoother experience. While we certainly look forward to playing with accompanists in person again, I plan to continue using “creative metronomes” as necessary preparation going forward. 


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