This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Developing Successful Conductors: A Survey of Feedback Methods for Undergraduate Instrumental Conducting Courses




Webb, LaToya

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Curriculum and Teaching


Few studies have explored feedback methods in undergraduate instrumental conducting courses. The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate the various methods of verbal (spoken/written) and nonverbal feedback and to compare and contrast instructors' perceptions of feedback based on their attributes, school, and course characteristics. Undergraduate instrumental conducting instructors from the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), “Conducting Pedagogy” listserve, and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities National Band Directors Consortium (HBCU-NBDC) professional members’ email list (N = 109), completed a web-based Qualtrics survey titled “Undergraduate Conducting Feedback” developed from previous studies (Boardman, 2000; Marrs, 2016; Rowe & Wood, 2008). The survey addressed five constructs: School Characteristics, Course Characteristics, Methods of Feedback, Perceptions of Feedback, and Demographic Profile. The following research questions were devised to gain further understanding of undergraduate instrumental conducting courses and the various types of verbal and nonverbal feedback. 1. What is the relationship between the types of feedback and class time? 2. What is the relationship between the demographic information and the perceptions of feedback? 3. Does class size, allotted class time, and years of experience teaching undergraduate instrumental conducting predict perceptions of feedback? 4. Based on the different methods of provided feedback, what are the most frequently used course activities in undergraduate instrumental conducting courses? iii Both descriptive statistics and various parametric inferential statistical analysis tests were used to describe and generalize about undergraduate instrumental conducting instructors. Pearson correlation results indicated no significant relationships between verbal and nonverbal feedback and allotted class time. A series of one-way MANOVA analyses revealed instructors' perceptions of feedback. No significant differences were found for gender, academic title, primary instrument, highest degree earned, institution type, or U.S. region. However, a significant difference was found among instructors' perceptions of nonverbal feedback based on race. Multiple regression analyses determined if class size, allotted class time, and years of experience teaching undergraduate instrumental conducting predicted instructors’ perceptions of feedback. Allotted class time was a significant predictor of instructors’ perceptions of written feedback. Instructors indicated using “conducting peers” as a course activity more frequently in combination with verbal (spoken/written) and nonverbal feedback. Recommendations for future research include studying undergraduates' perceptions of their conducting instructor's verbal and nonverbal feedback concerning frequency and effectiveness. Another recommendation includes providing conducting workshops and symposiums offering guidance on useful and meaningful verbal and nonverbal feedback. The last recommendation includes encouragement for instructors to seek additional opportunities to learn and become more comfortable with various tools for providing feedback.