UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The status of stringed instrument instruction in the public elementary and secondary schools of British Columbia Van Ooyen, Peter C.


The purpose of the study is to identify and describe stringed instrument programs in the public elementary and secondary schools of British Columbia during the 1980-1981 school year. The study is concerned with three main aspects. First, the setting of each program within the community and the general music program of the district is described. This description includes a sampling of program rationales and goals. Because the programs studied are district string programs, the district music administrator's role in the program is outlined. Second, selected features of the program are compared. These include various aspects of enrolment and class size, as well as the number, sex, and experience of teachers and their professional affiliation and diplomas. Also dealt with are aspects of the program of instruction, including the basic instructional format and teaching approach; the use of method books and materials; methods of recruitment and student screening; and scheduling procedures and administrative and teaching devices employed to facilitate instruction and participation. Finally, some problems in public school string programs of British Columbia are discussed which have possible implications for the viability of such programs. A personal interview was conducted with all teachers of the string programs and with the district music administrators. In each district an arbitrary sample of classes was observed to determine the method of instruction and gather student data. A standard question format was used with all, respondents. The data acquired from interviews and observations were entered into the guide during the interview. Data were collated and the numerical results tabulated. An analysis was made in terms of tables using arithmetic means and percentages. Two characteristics of district string programs in British Columbia are a lack of uniformity in almost all aspects of programming and the relatively limited involvement of students, teachers, and others in the school communities. The nine district string programs studied have little in common, not conforming to an acceptable standard, if in fact any such standard exists. This non-uniformity is seen in such diverse factors as the socio-geographical orientation and the instruction practices utilized. The setting of string programs varies in character (a metropolitan city and environs, rural and semi-rural areas) with populations ranging from a low of 30000 to 410000 and corresponding school district sizes ranging from 6000 to 55500 students. Cultural resources such as orchestras, choirs, and other arts organizations are found in all areas. String program activity is extremely limited in scope. A very small percentage of all district students, teachers, and schools were found to be involved in strings. This percentage contrasts sharply with the large percentage of these involved in band programs. Furthermore, scheduling classes and ensemble rehearsals is a problem. Many classes must be held outside normal school hours or at a central location in the district, making participation difficult for a percentage of students. Perhaps because of competition with other elective courses, students often choose not to take orchestra classes, and in fact results of the study indicate that there are a very small number of classes in strings or orchestra at the secondary levels. Most participation is at the beginning levels of instruction. Further research would be useful regarding the motivation for teachers to enter the field of public school stringed instrument teaching, common character traits of these teachers, their training in stringed instrument education pedagogy, and their longevity within the fields; the appropriateness of stringed instrument instruction within the context of public school music education as compared to other institutions; and the philosophical foundation for public string instruction, and its effect upon the success of string programs.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.