Music teachers' experiences of improvisation in band and orchestra classrooms
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Many teachers do not consider improvisation relevant to band or orchestra, and available research indicates that it is one of the least utilized activities in these classrooms. Bandura’s (1977, 1997) self-efficacy theory can explain many of the attitudes teachers have towards improvisation, as well as its absence in the classroom. I sought to discover what role self-efficacy played in leading some teachers to incorporate improvisation into their band and orchestra classrooms. Using a three-interview model as espoused by Seidman (1998), I interviewed six teachers about their experiences with improvisation in their teaching practice. I discovered five emergent themes that the participants had in common. These themes fit into two categories—the development of beliefs about improvisation, and how those beliefs about improvisation affected participants’ behavior. I conclude with a discussion of implications for the field and suggest that future research focus on the presence or lack of improvisation instruction during teacher education programs, as well as the prevalence and efficacy of professional development workshops around improvisation.