“Conducting is Everywhere!” A Case Study of the Development of Preservice Music Teacher Occupational Identity in a Beginning Conducting Course

Erik Johnson


Research on pre-service music teacher occupational identity often highlights two competing identities: performer and teacher (L’Roy, 1983; Roberts, 1991; Pellegrino, 2009). Of the many factors that contribute to the occupational identity of the pre-service music teacher (Woodford, 2002), conducting has the potential to integrate performer and teacher identities. Previous research indicates that high school and college ensemble conductors have an influence on the occupational identity of the pre-service music teacher (L’Roy, 1983; Bauer & Berg, 2001; Isbell, 2008), yet little is known about how socialization to the norms of a conducting community influences the development of pre-service music teacher occupational identity. The present investigation used qualitative case study methodology (Stake, 1995) to describe the status of pre-service music teacher occupational identity at one institution during a first-semester beginning conducting course. Using a community of practice framework (Wenger, 1998), I examined the following questions: (1) how does conducting instruction influence the development of pre-service music teacher occupational identity; (2) how does a student’s perceived trajectory relate to their approach to conducting instruction; (3) how does a student’s previous and current socialization impact the awareness and participation in a conducting community of practice? Data analysis suggested four primary themes: (a) conducting as teaching; (b) conducting as performing; (c) participants learn by watching others conduct; (d) participants seek to assume the role of the expert. Findings suggest that a pre-service music teacher’s occupational identity is affected by their perceived trajectory (Wenger, 1998) as they interact in or move through a community of practice.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v2i3.422


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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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