Productivity Models for Applied Music Professors

  • PDF: https://www.jstor.org/stable/40373922

Productivity Models for Applied Music Professors
Written by Samuel A. Floyd, Jr.

Burt K. Kageff, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale—Symposium Volume 18

The current heavy emphasis on scholarly productivity in American universities has generated much discussion regarding what should be the nature of scholarly productivity for professors in the performing arts. Some scholars claim that the requirements for those holding appointments in the performing arts should be the same as those for other scholars. Other commentators maintain that important high-quality concerts and recitals should be considered as equivalent to or the same as research productivity.1

However, for the majority of applied music teachers in colleges and universities across the country, many of whom no longer perform but remain active teachers, neither of these two positions provides an answer to the problem. Some critics of "unproductive" music professors2 blame what they refer to as a conservatory mentality for this lack of productivity. We maintain, however, that the best answer to the problem of scholarly productivity among applied music teachers in universities lies in the tradition of that very same conservatory system.

The works of Klosé3 (1808-1880), Arban,4 Garcia,5 and Simandl6 (as well as many others) are examples of scholarly productivity by conservatory professors. While many academicians do not consider "methods books" to be scholarly treatises, the works of these musicians are, in their respective areas of performance, watersheds in the history and development of instrumental and vocal music. They have withstood the test of time and have been used to prepare thousands of performers for professional careers. They may be considered as standards of academic achievement in applied music pedagogy and, even, research. Take, for example, Klosé, whose 1844 Method is a standard pedagogical treatise for the clarinet. A professor at the Paris Conservatoire from 1839 to 1868, Klosé, through his research, redesigned the clarinet and provided the impetus for the development of virtuoso clarinet playing.7

The instrumentalists mentioned above, aside from their pedagogical treatises, also wrote collections of etudes and other solo works for their respective instruments. Many of these works have become part of the standard literature in the field of instrumental music.

Works of two American artist-scholars can serve as examples of contemporary contributions to the literature in applied music pedagogy. Vern Reynolds, a professor at the Eastman School of Music, saw his 48 Etudes for French Horn8 published early in the last decade. In 1962, Gunther Schuller, President of the New England Conservatory, contributed his Studies for Unaccompanied Horn.9 Both treatises are having wide and significant impact upon students of the orchestral horn and both works show early promise of becoming classical studies.

Another potential area for research activity in the field of applied music can be found in the current controversy on the merits of private lessons versus group lessons. "There is no research to show that the private lesson is more effective than some form of group instruction."10 Both private lessons and some form of group teaching are operative at most universities across the country, but no scholarly research has been done to settle the question. The results of any significant research on the question would be anxiously awaited by the profession.

If we examine one of the most successful and innovative conservatory teachers of all time, Manuel Garcia, we might have a model on which to base scholarly productivity for professors of the performing arts. Manuel Garcia (1805-1906) studied singing and performed as part of his father's international singing troupe for a number of years before accepting a teaching position at his father's conservatory in Paris. His first article was sent to the French Academy of Sciences in November, 1840 and was published after an investigating committee judged his students who had been called in to demonstrate the theories propounded in his article. Several other method books followed this first treatise. His publications were based upon empirical data gathered from direct observation in the private studio. Garcia's treatise on the art of singing11 contains many musical examples, together with detailed explanations of how to sing coloratura passages. Also included are a number of exercises which deal with common vocal problems. Garcia was in great demand as a lecturer and clinician and, in 1848, moved from Paris to London where he taught at the Royal Academy of Music until his retirement in 1895.

Garcia, then, was a musician brought up in the conservatory tradition who served in that function for his entire professional life. His research was expressed in his teaching, writing, and other activities. Garcia, generally regarded to be the father of vocal science, invented the laryngoscope in 1855. Prior to this development, there was no known method of observing the vocal folds in action; and all so-called knowledge about the actual functioning of the larynx was based on conjecture. Garcia, a conservatory music teacher, in his research to improve singing, made a significant contribution to medical science and opened a fertile field of scholarly activity for the applied music professor, namely, pedagogical research using the scientific method.12

Vocal science has produced a great deal of data about the measurable qualities of the singing voice, but as yet has not provided many of the answers for the pedagogue on how to teach singing. A number of speech pathologists13 have adopted the behavioral approach to the solving of pedagogical problems relating to the training of the speaking voice. The applied teacher of singing could do the same. Here lies a research field that is literally untapped. One of the authors of this article (Kageff) recently initiated a project designed to develop an approach to voice teaching based on behavioral analysis and logical empiricism. He has identified various behaviors as important to success in singing and is now in the process of developing procedures for helping students modify their performance behaviors in order to ensure high-quality vocal production and, consequently, successful singing.

The position set forth in this article should not be taken as advocacy for or endorsement of the total conservatory approach for use in the university community. It is intended only as a discussion of what might be considered for one group of professors, as a fertile field for research productivity in the field of music. The historical precedents for this type of activity, in both conservatories and universities, are numerous, although the majority of applied music professors do not engage in such endeavors.

Musicological research has become the "proper," valid, and acceptable mode of music research in the university community; this fact has had a negative effect on both productivity and rewards for those who are engaged in the kind of conservatory-oriented research discussed in this article. Snobbism, on the part of some scholars within the field of music and uninformed elitists from outside the field, continues to aggravate the problem.

There are several reasons for this: (1) an effort to raise the quality of scholarship in the profession; (2) a need by some music scholars to be respected by colleagues in other disciplines; (3) genuine feelings of academic superiority on the part of certain segments of the profession; and (4) the fact that some cultural elitists from outside the profession tend to influence the behavior and activities of a few music scholars, in spite of the fact that the "knowledge" possessed by such intruders is cursory, in most cases merely historical (not musical or musico-philosophical), and dated, and the fact that their philosophical and aesthetic arguments are often shamefully sophomoric.

If applied music professors in American colleges and universities are to control their collective professional destiny, it is imperative that they (1) follow the models appropriate to their aspirations, (2) insist upon and establish the legitimacy of their endeavors with the university community (administrators particularly), and (3) regard "intruders" as the spectators that they are.


1See Samuel A. Floyd, Jr., "The Sounds of Science," The Chronicle of Higher Education, Vol. XII, No. 13 (May 24, 1976), p. 40.

2Unproductive in the sense of producing traditional scholarly articles and books, concerts and recitals.

3Hyacinthe Klosé, Grande méthode pour le clarinette à anneaux mobiles (Paris: Alphonse le duc, 1844).

4Joseph Jean Baptiste Laurent Arban, Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet (first published as Grande Méthod de cornet à pistons et de saxhorn, 18—), eds. Edwin Franko Goldman and Walter M. Smith (New York: Carl Fischer, Inc., 1936).

5Manuel Garcia, A Complete Treatise on the Art of Singing (New York: Da Capo Press, 1975).

6Franz Simandl, New Method for the Double Bass (1881), revised and edited by Stuart Sankey (New York: Carl Fischer, Inc., 1968).

7Eric Blom, ed., Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, fifth ed. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1954), p. 784.

8Vern Reynolds, 48 Etudes for French Horn (New York: G. Schirmer, 1961).

9Gunther Schuller, Studies for Unaccompanied Horn (New York: Oxford University Press, 1962).

10Samuel A. Floyd, Jr., "Some Thoughts on Philosophy and Practice," in The Illinois Music Educator, Vol. XXXV, No. 1 (October, 1974), pp. 14-16.

11Garcia, op. cit.

12Victor Alexander Fields, Training the Singing Voice (New York: Kings Crown Press, Columbia University, 1947), p. 9.

13William H. Perkins, Speech Pathology: An Applied Behavioral Science (St. Louis: C.V. Mosby Co., 1971).

Read 1480 times

Last modified on Friday, 09/11/2018

Samuel A. Floyd, Jr.

Samuel A. Floyd Jr. is Founder and Director Emeritus of the Center for Black Music Research, which he established in 1983 at Columbia College Chicago. While a member of the Fisk University faculty, he launched the Black Music Research Journal in 1980 and served as its editor until his retirement. During his tenure at the CBMR, he co-authored two books (with Marsha Reisser [Heizer]) including Black Music in the United States: An Annotated Bibliography (Kraus International, 1983) and Black Music Biography: An Annotated Bibliography (Kraus International, 1987). Floyd also edited Black Music in the Harlem Renaissance: A Collection of Essays (Greenwood Press, 1990), which received the Irving Lowens Book Award from the Society for American Music and the International Dictionary of Black Composers (Fitzroy-Dearborn, 1999), which was named one of the Twenty Best Reference Books for the year 1999 from the New York Public Library, and received an “Outstanding Reference Source” award from the American Library Association in 2000 in addition to a Choice Award as an Outstanding Academic Title.
In 1995, he published his monograph The Power of Black Music (OUP) and launched Lenox Avenue, a Journal of Interarts Inquiry, for which he served as editor.
His articles have appeared in a variety of publications including 19th-Century Music, American Music, Black Music Research Journal, Black Perspective in Music, Chronicle of Higher Education, and the College Music Symposium, to name a few.
He has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for American Music and has been named an Honorary Member of the American Musicological Society.

Go to top