A survey of certain aspects of the organizational structures of twelve Texas honor bands



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The success of an instrumental music program depends in part upon the ability of the music teacher to organize his classes in such a way as to create the most favorable conditions for learning. Presented in this report are in-depth descriptions of the organizational structures of twelve Texas public school instrumental music programs and their bands, recognized for excellence in performance by the Texas Music Educators Association. Statement of the Problem. This study identified those organizational factors which contributed to the development of twelve Texas Honor Bands. The identified factors of organizational structure were classified and grouped into six areas to discover, through analysis, patterns of commonalities or inconsistencies. The six areas are: Area 1. The Schools of the District. Area 2. The Instrumental Music Faculty. Area 3. The Beginning Instrumental Music Program. Area 4. The Intermediate Instrumental Music Program. Area 5. The Advanced Instrumental Music Program Area 6. The Allocation of Physical Resources Procedures of the Study. To gather material for this study, the author arranged personal interviews with each of the teachers of the selected ensembles. The data were collected from newspaper articles, journal reviews, school records and files, but primarily from the interviews with the directors. The interviews were tape recorded and the responses of the subjects were later transcribed from the tapes, organized, typed and sent to each of the respective directors for verification and comment. The interview served as a means of gathering information that could not have been obtained otherwise, and the interview procedure followed a fairly rigid pattern in regard to the sequence and structure of the questions. In analyzing and reporting the data, the questions were condensed and regrouped under the six areas. The Practical Significance of the Study. Commonalities of organizational practice which were apparent factors in the success of the programs are noted in order to identify emerging patterns of organization which could well serve as models worthy of emulation. This study can serve as a frame of reference for instrumental music teachers and for school administrators who are interested in improving and upgrading their own programs. In making use of the data, the teacher or the administrator can judge his program quantitatively in relation to programs of accepted excellence. Such comparisons can provide the basis for recognizing needs of a given program and for formulating recommendations for improvement. Conclusions. Of the conclusions of the study, the two most important are: 1. Of the twelve honor band directors, four were the sole teachers of instrumental music in their districts. These men had total control of almost all pertinent aspects of the students' musical development. On the other hand, the remaining eight directors were from larger districts and the sizes of their programs necessitated the use of teaching assistants. In each instance, however, these eight men very carefully laid down the objectives, planned, coordinated, and supervised the work of these assistants so as to retain virtual control, in effect and in fact, of the musical development of the students. 2. Above all, it is apparent that the high schools of the honor bands were the focal points of the cultural lives of their communities, and as a result, the instrumental music program received prime school and community encouragement. Moreover, the directors of the honor bands no doubt engendered this support by virtue of their enthusiasm for and dedication to the education and well being of the students. These men were able to reach out and to strongly influence their students, motivating them to willingly sacrifice much in time, in energy, and even in money in developing with great pride bands of such excellence.