Mind, heart, and body: conductors use the Enneagram to reflect on musical practice
Spencer, Reed Michael
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Conducting a musical rehearsal is an inherently relational activity, requiring a mixture of musical and personal skills. Research and writing on the role of intentional reflection for educators, and subsequently conductors, has demonstrated the important role of reflection as a catalyst for growth. While many models of reflection including video reflection, journaling, and reflective dialogue have helped conductors and music educators gain self-awareness and experience growth, these models do not provide resources to deeply reflect upon the specific role of personality within the rehearsal setting. The Enneagram of Personality, in the form of the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) was used in this study as a tool for reflecting on personality within the choral rehearsal. Three conductors completed the RHETI online, engaged in reflective conversation about individual personality traits, then watched videos of two recent choral rehearsals, verbally reflecting on the role of specific personality traits within the rehearsals. This document presents these three reflective journeys as case studies, ultimately exploring the usefulness of a tool like the Enneagram as an aid to personal and musical growth for conductors. Chapter One presents an overview of the literature on reflective practice, especially as it applies to education (broadly) and music education (specifically). Chapter Two introduces the Enneagram of Personality, summarizing its structure and core descriptions, as well as psychometric reliability and validity studies of the RHETI. Chapter Three describes the procedures used in the cases and the process developed for analyzing and interpreting the data. Chapters Four, Five, and Six contain the three cases, detailing each conductor’s interaction with the Enneagram within the prescribed reflective practice. Chapter Seven offers a cross-case analysis of the three cases and examines their implications for further research and future use of the Enneagram in musical practice.
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