Abstract

This teacher-conducted research observes the influence of music history and theory instruction upon motivation, engagement, and expressive performance of the author’s high school string students. Two diverse teaching approaches were introduced sequentially as students learned two movements of Schubert’s "Death and the Maiden" Quartet (D810). The first movement was taught using performance-based instruction only, while the second movement was taught with a combination of performance-based instruction and music history and theory lessons. Student comments and teacher observations revealed that the incorporation of music history and theory lessons into performance instruction was (a) motivational to students, (b) a catalyst for expressive performance, and (c) an effective use of rehearsal time. Independent adjudicator scores were higher for the second movement than for the first, although several additional explanations are given that may also explain the variation in scores. Pedagogical recommendations are provided for incorporating music history and theory lessons into performance rehearsals.

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