The University of St. Thomas

Music

Neumann, Carolyn

Neumann, Carolyn

Children's and Conductor's Perceptions of Leadership Behaviors that Demonstrate Emotional Intelligence of Female Conductors of Children's Choirs
cneumann@golden.net Carolyn Neumann
Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore children’s and conductors’ opinions regarding the leadership behaviors of female children’s choir conductors that demonstrate emotional intelligence. The community children’s choir is an organization in which effective leadership skills that demonstrate emotional intelligence are important. In this study, the four areas of leadership behaviours from Daniel Goleman’s list of Relationship Management competencies were selected based on an examination of current literature and informal discussions with colleagues.  These competencies include: (1) Developing Others; (2) Inspirational Leadership; (3) Building Bonds; and (4) Teamwork and Collaboration.

The study was designed as a descriptive study using a postal survey to collect data. Data were gathered from two separate surveys completed by children involved in a community children’s choir as well as another survey completed by female children’s choir conductors with various backgrounds and years of experience.  The results of the survey revealed that most singers were satisfied with the leadership behaviors of their conductors. However, the data showed that conductors felt more strongly than singers surveyed about the importance of leadership behaviors like Developing Others and Inspirational Leadership. Both conductors and singers shared similar views about the importance of activities that helped to Build Bonds within the choral organization, and singers demonstrated a keen interest in having some input into the daily operations of the choir as well as the musical decision-making.

Conductors and singers also had the opportunity to make additional anecdotal comments. Several conductors included comments referring to the survey question regarding allowing their singers to take ownership in the choir through shared decision-making. These comments revealed that while many of the conductors indicated that involving their singers as a way of developing a cooperative environment was important, certain restrictions needed to be placed by the conductor because of the musical inexperience of the singers. Many of the singers’ anecdotal comments indicated that they value the Inspirational Leadership provided by their conductor as well as the importance of their conductor demonstrating leadership skills in the area of Developing Others. Comments by the singers also demonstrated the importance of the emotions generated by the conductor and the singer’s individual feelings about the experience.

Thesis Supervisor
Dr. Bruce P. Gleason