Embodied, Representational, and Distributed Learning Practices in a Professional String Quartet

2017-10-27T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Emma Hospelhorn
This case study of a string quartet in rehearsal uses a distributed and embodied framework to track learning trajectories across talk, non-sound-producing gestures of the head and torso, and musician annotations over a three week rehearsal period. The principal question guiding this study is “how do musical groups learn to construct a performance?” In order to track the learning that occurred across rehearsals, I developed the construct of Group Expressive Musical Gesture (GEMG) to track the ways that entrained non-sound-producing motions of the head and torso emerged and evolved across multiple takes in rehearsals. This analysis of the group’s learning trajectory across shared GEMGs, written annotations, and rehearsal talk resulted in four central findings: that (1) gestures, talk, and annotation shared the burden of driving conceptual change across rehearsals; (2) these three mediums of learning unfolded across different timescales; (3) the group’s learning process consisted in part of a process of spatialization of musical concepts across multiple dimensions; (4) analyses of learning trajectories across all three modes show a shift across rehearsals from a focus on entrainment to the development and deepening of increasingly rich shared concepts.