Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Music Education

Major Professor

Jack Heller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Williams, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Robinson, D.M.A.

Committee Member

Sheila Woodward, Ph.D.


Music, Conducting, Gesture, Interpretation, Perception


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of non-verbal conducting gesture on musicians’ stylistic response and whether conducting gestures alone elicit consistent musical responses from musicians. Through an analysis that utilized a Gestural Response Instrument (GRI) it was determined that, even if the use of verbal and facial cues were eliminated, some experienced conductors successfully utilized non-verbal conducting gestures to communicate specific musical interpretations. It appeared that musicians responded in specific ways to the musical interpretation of conductors who had command of a variety of conducting gestures. The results illustrated the existence of a perceptual contract that facilitates the non-verbal communication expressed through gestural conducting. As demonstrated through this study, some experienced conductors lacked the gestural technique and vocabulary necessary to convey prescribed musical decisions while others were proficient in this area.