Comparing Band and Orchestra Teaching Strategies

Rebecca MacLeod compared the instructional strategies used by experienced band and orchestra teachers when teaching a first-year class an unfamiliar music excerpt.

After defining 12 teacher behaviors (echoing technique, question and answer, verbal instruction, modeling with and without an instrument, etc.) and comparing 40 teachers (20 band, 20 orchestra), MacLeod found differences in the band and orchestra groups for 9 of the 12 behaviors.

“In general, band teachers used verbal instruction, conducting, question-and-answer techniques, and student performance with greater frequency than orchestra teachers, while orchestra teachers used echoing technique, co-verbal instruction, modeling, modeling with instrument during student performance, and pedagogical touch with greater frequency,” said MacLeod.

“No significant difference was observed between the two groups for classroom management, modeling without an instrument, and modeling without an instrument during student performance,” she concluded.

The entire article, “A Comparison of Instructional Strategies Used by Experienced Band and Orchestra Teachers When Teaching a First-Year Class an Unfamiliar Music Excerpt,” was published in the Summer 2010 issue of the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, no. 185, p. 49–61.

NAfME member Rebecca MacLeod is an assistant professor of music education specializing in strings at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Share your thoughts on the NAfME Orchestra Forum (log-in required).
–Ella Wilcox, September 1, 2011, © National Association for Music Education (