Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Date of Award

Fall 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)


School of Music


William M. Dabback

Gary K. Ritcher


The Variety Show: Why Classical String Musicians are

Exploring a Multistyle Approach to Music

Kelly C. Wiedemann

This case study examines the experiences of five classically trained string teachers who now include alternative styles in their teaching. The research questions are: (1) What factors inspire a classically trained string educator to begin teaching alternative styles to their students? (2) Why is it important to keep classical music in string pedagogy? (3) How have these teachers, their peers, students, and community reacted to multistylism? The interviews revealed four major points of motivation: Opportunities for developing creativity and finding a personal voice on their instrument, freedom to make mistakes without criticism, higher enrollment and retention rates, and increased job opportunities.

Participants were committed to keeping classical music as a core part of their curriculum. Upon implementing a diverse curriculum, participants felt some resistance from students and peers, but for them, the positive reactions outweigh the negative. Based on the findings of this study, I argue that including alternative styles in a classical string curriculum, whatever the style may be, greatly increase professional & personal potential for both teacher and student.