The vocal jazz ensemble: Systemic interactions in the creation of three university programs

2010 2010

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Abstract (summary)

This study examined the experiences of three vocal jazz ensemble directors who influenced the field through their successful programs at the university level. These directors, Dr. Gene Aitken, Professor Larry Lapin, and Dr. Stephen Zegree, were chosen because of their national reputations as well as their program's longevity and success.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the creation and development of successful vocal jazz ensemble programs, in the setting of the university under the leadership of their directors. A purposeful sample was chosen from a DownBeat Student Music Awards compilation from the years 1979-2006. I interviewed each of these three Directors, as well as four to six of each Director's Colleagues and Students. Additionally I examined between 25 to 30 years worth of archival data in the form of available course catalogues, programs, and recording liner notes.

Results indicate that the Directors are remarkably similar in core traits of inquisitiveness, problem solving, and mastery that allowed them to be successful in the domain and field. They actualized different portions of core traits in conjunction with individual knowledge constructions formed through learning and career experiences. The programs were remarkably similar with emphasis on musicianship, industry standards, and excellence. The programs differed regarding the interpretation and approach of each unique Director personae and that Director's musical experiences that interacted with their specific local field as well as the professional field. The Directors and their program interpretations influenced and shaped the definition of an educational vocal jazz ensemble.

The programs were created and developed within a completely intertwined domain, field, and individual creative system. The individual responded to their specific local field by formulating problems and solving presented problems. Formulated and solved problem categories included credibility, validation, economics, forum, and domain transmission. The creative systems model was expanded to reflect the unique nature of the performing arts. The programs as artistic product influenced and shaped both the domain and field without cessation, so that the domain continuously evolved. This was enhanced by the infancy stage of the domain when the programs were first initiated.

Indexing (details)

Music education;
Teacher education
0413: Music
0522: Music education
0530: Teacher education
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Education; Jazz ensembles; Program development; Vocal jazz
The vocal jazz ensemble: Systemic interactions in the creation of three university programs
Letson, Stephanie Austin
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 71/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Custodero, Lori
Teachers College, Columbia University
University location
United States -- New York
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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