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Title:The music teaching and learning process in an African-American Baptist church
Author(s):Townsend, Robert Toussaint
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Grant, Joe W.
Department / Program:Education
Discipline:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Religion, General
Black Studies
Music
Education, Music
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to describe the musical experience of an African-American Baptist church including its music teaching and learning process, music literature and materials, and contextual aspects such as the following: (a) spatial relationships/physical placements, (b) performance practices, (c) reactions to the performances, and (d) spiritual/expressive aspects. A second purpose was to draw implications for the use of the music and teaching and learning processes found in African-American churches, within public school choral music classrooms.
Members of an African-American Baptist Church in Aurora, Illinois were observed for a period of four months. Data was gathered using a qualitative design. Adult choir rehearsals, youth choir rehearsals, and Sunday worship services were audio taped and field notes were taken. Open-ended interviews were conducted with spiritual leaders, music leaders, musicians, and choir members. To address the issue of native ethnography, a collaborator was used. Interpretations were confirmed with original data sources.
A description of the choral music teaching and learning process included several features of aural transmission. Members of the church choirs learned through practice-based and example-based means. Lave (1991) called this learning process a "sustained community of practice," in which more experienced members worked with newcomers to become members of the community.
Contextual aspects of rehearsals and presentations are described. The purpose for music in these settings was to praise their Christian God. Consequently, rehearsals were worshipful events within themselves and not just times of preparation for Sunday morning performances.
Implications from this research were that the music and the teaching and learning process found in an African-American church setting could be transferred to school choral classrooms. In addition, some of the stylistic characteristics of African-American religious music could also be transferred. These included emphasis on African-American rhythmic styles found in blues and soul music, use of improvisation including jazz and blues notes, gospel vocal production, use of piano, electric organ and drums, and clapping and movement during the songs. Contextual features such as reactions to the performances and performance practices are also transferrable. However, spiritual aspects of the religious musical experience may not be transferrable to school settings.
Issue Date:1996
Type:Text
Language:English
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/20658
ISBN:9780591199451
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Townsend, Robert Toussaint
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712463
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712463


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