The Role of Conductor Facial Expression in Students’ Evaluation of Ensemble Expressivity
The purpose of this study was to explore whether conductor facial expression affected the expressivity ratings assigned to music excerpts by high school band students. Three actors were videotaped while portraying approving, neutral, and disapproving facial expressions. Each video was duplicated twice and then synchronized with one of three professional wind ensemble recordings. Participants (N = 133) viewed nine 1-min videos of varying facial expressions, actors, and excerpts and rated each ensemble’s expressivity on a 10-point rating scale. Results of a one-way repeated measures ANOVA indicated that conductor facial expression significantly affected ratings of ensemble expressivity (p < .001, partial η2 = .15). Post hoc comparisons revealed that participants’ ensemble expressivity ratings were significantly higher for excerpts featuring approving facial expressions than for either neutral or disapproving expressions. Participants’ mean ratings were lowest for neutral facial expression excerpts, indicating that an absence of facial affect influenced evaluations of ensemble expressivity most negatively.