Before the singing : the journey of an artistic director
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Reflective practices and teacher leadership development can be meaningful and integral components of music teacher education. The purpose of this study was to examine the professional journey and reflective practices of an artistic director of a large, nonprofit community children's choir organization in the Midwestern United States. The conceptual framework for this case study with narrative techniques included two main areas of practice: reflective teaching (critically reflective teaching and reflective practitioner) and teacher leadership. The overarching research question asked: How does a successful children's choir director enact effective teacher leadership through reflective practices? The related sub-questions were as follows: 1) How does the participant's life history inform her vision for the organization? 2) What characterizes the participant's views of teacher leadership and creative work as artistic director? 3) What characterizes the participant's views of learning and teaching in the children's choir context? Data collection included transcripts from three semi-structured interviews, a follow up interview, two rehearsal observation sequences with one video-stimulated recall iteration, field memos, and artifacts. I used a constant comparative method to examine the coded transcripts, memos, field notes, video observation logs, and artifacts. Trustworthiness was established through data triangulation, a follow-up interview, participant checking, and peer checking. Three main themes emerged from the analysis: building a scaffold for reflective teacher leadership, artistic director as leader, and the intersection of reflective practitioner and teacher leader. Findings suggested that the participant's well-defined philosophies of leadership and teaching, reflective rehearsal pedagogy, and pedagogical thoughtfulness had a significant, positive impact on the high quality, experiential opportunities provided to the choristers and the choir organization as a whole.
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