Tradition bearers as educations: A multi-case study of the teaching behaviors and beliefs of three old-time musicians

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rebecca B. MacLeod, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the teaching behaviors and beliefs of three “tradition bearers” of old-time music: Alice Gerrard, Tom Sauber, and Lightnin’ Wells. The three teachers were selected based on their extensive careers as performers of old-time and folk music, and their reputations as teachers of old-time and folk music. Data were collected at the Swannanoa Gathering at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina, and included 18 hours of video data, personal interviews, and field notes. Coding of the video revealed three main themes in the tradition bearers’ teaching: (1) Demonstration: use of recordings, teacher performance at tempo, teacher performance at reduced tempo, and co-verbal demonstration, (2) Verbal Instruction: verbal explanation, discussion, feedback, and story telling and (3) Group Play: whole group macro, whole group micro, and isolated play. Throughout the interviews, the tradition bearers shared their beliefs about teaching old-time music, the differences between they way they teach compared to how they learned, their goals for students, and their opinions about the role of tradition bearers in the education of old-time musicians.

Additional Information

String Research Journal, 5, 55-72
Language: English
Date: 2014
old-time music, folk music, teaching behaviors, tradition, oral tradition

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