School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Brian Stiffler


Mentoring, Music, Conducting, Band, Teacher Education


Education | Music


Despite the inclusion of undergraduate conducting coursework in music teacher preparation programs in the United States, the performance of novice conductors may require further development during their field experiences. The clinical music educator fills a critical role in facilitating conductor skill development, yet no comprehensive framework supports this coaching. This explanatory sequential mixed methods design study identifies effective strategies in the mentoring of preservice music educators toward refining their instrumental conducting skills by classifying perspectives of clinical and preservice educators and their perceived roles in developing preservice music educators' conducting skills. A broad base of participants (N = 73) was surveyed on their experience in their role as either preservice educator conducting mentors or as novice conductors, and selected mentors (N = 10) were interviewed to identify strategies in developing preservice educators’ conducting skills. The study found that mentoring in the development of independent gestures and aural error detection skills is critical to the success of the preservice educator, thereby contributing to the success of the music students in his or her future classroom. This research could further influence the design of undergraduate conducting curricula and have implications in the broader area of teacher education or fields where mentoring relationships exist.