Congratulations to Dr. Joseph Pignato, who has very recently completed his doctorate degree in music education at Boston University with a dissertation entitled An Analysis of Practical Challenges Posed by Teaching Improvisation: Case Studies in New York State Schools. This insightful study examines two cases of music teachers who have pioneered some innovative approaches to the use of improvisation in school music classrooms. Dr. Pignato is a highly-accomplished professional percussionist and composer who works as an Assistant Professor at State University of New York, Oneonta. It was a great pleasure to serve on his doctoral advisory committee along with Dr. Ron Kos and his supervisory professor Dr. Andrew Goodrich, both of Boston University. Congratulations, Dr. Pignato!
Here is the abstract of Dr. Pignato's dissertation study:
Data analysis revealed challenges posed by teaching improvisation in the school music contexts studied including lack of curricular resources supporting improvisation instruction, conflicts with tradition and the expectations of colleagues, parents, students, and administrators, and standing apart from the prevailing practices of colleagues. Four themes emerged from participant narratives during the course of investigation: (a) significant epiphany experiences, (b) protracted personal transformations, (c) intentionality, and (d) concerted advocacy. Suggestions for music education include improving integration of exceptional teachers into prevailing practices in ways that foster a multiplicity of approaches to teaching music “of all periods, styles, forms, and cultures” (Choate, 1968, p. 139), minimizing extrinsic challenges to teaching improvisation in school music contexts, enhancing teacher intentionality, and encouraging advocacy efforts to foster acceptance, cooperation, and deeper understanding of the value of incorporating improvisation in school music programs.
Here is a link to Dr. Pignato's website: