AN EXPLORATION OF A MEANS TO INCREASE PERFORMERS' AWARENESS OF THE INTONATION TENDENCIES OF THEIR INDIVIDUAL WIND INSTRUMENTS - Douglas Charles Orzolek Public

The problem of achieving accurate intonation in the school band has challenged the thinking of many of the finest band directors, musicians and students. There have been countless articles and books written on this subject, all of which have been helpful in guiding the director toward the most effective methods. By placing the emphasis of these writings on increasing the knowledge of the instructors however, the students’ awareness of the general intonation tendencies of their instruments has been neglected. “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and pitch is an area in which many have only a little knowledge” (Colwell, 1992, p. 102). Cooperative learning, a current trend in education, places more of the responsibility for learning directly on the student (Smith, 1987). If students are responsible for learning, then the educational outcome may go beyond what is considered possible (Hosterman, 1992). This concept can be carried into music education as well. “To encourage and develop independent judgment, the conductor should transfer the responsibility (of determining intonation problems) to the band members themselves” (Hovey, 1976, p. 25). And, unless the students are aware that a problem exists with their intonation, it can not be fixed. This study was directed toward determining and extending wind instrumentalists’ knowledge of the general intonation tendencies of their instrument. The problem of this study was to explore a means to increase performers’ awareness of the intonation tendencies of their individual instruments. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which student instrumentalists are aware of the general intonation deficiencies of their instruments and to examine and compare current published materials that provide such information. Specific questions studied included: 1. Does the use of an intonation guide improve the students’ cognitive awareness of the intonation problems of their individual wind instrument? 2. Does the use of an intonation guide improve wind instrumentals’ intonation accuracy during performance? The design of the study used a pretest-post-test format. The test consisted of two parts: a questionnaire/background survey to determine the extent of intonation knowledge the student holds and a tuning session with the Amadeus II computer software to determine the students actual intonation accuracy on each individual note. The experimental group received a researcher prepared intonation guide that listed the general intonation tendencies of their own instrument and an individualized intonation chart as a result of the Amadeus II performance session. The group used the charts during their regular band rehearsals by making reference to the notes listed during the warm-up period. The control group received no guides. Both groups then repeated the pretest process. The research found that the use of the intonation guide can significantly improve the cognitive awareness as well as the intonation accuracy during performance of the student wind instrumentalist. The researcher also developed a comprehensive intonation guide that the student can used as a part of the normal rehearsal process to improve intonation. As a result of this study, the researcher suggests the use of these intonation charts as a regular part of the instrument music curriculum.

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