Masterful Rehearsal: An Analysis of the Work of James Edwin Croft


  • Michael Antonio Gabriel Florida State University College of Music


Music, Band, Music Education, Instrumental Music Education, Florida State University Bands, Performance, rehearsal, pacing


In the American wind band community, the legacy of James Edwin Croft (Director of Bands, Emeritus, The Florida State University) as a teacher, conductor, and pedagogue is formidable. The purpose of this document is to offer insight on this legacy, specifically by analyzing transferable teaching elements including score study principles, rehearsal pacing/structure, and gestural philosophy. Specific quotes from Croft relating to certain elements of teaching augment this study with an abridged biography. These resources are offered in response to the fact that few public records exist which document the late Dr. Croft’s teaching. This document, when coupled with the discussed rehearsal recordings, should serve as a useful guide for teachers seeking to learn from a master teacher.

Author Biography

Michael Antonio Gabriel, Florida State University College of Music

Michael Gabriel is a student at the Florida State University pursing a Bachelor's Degree in Instrumental Music Education. He is a Seminole Torchbearer, Garnet and Gold Scholar, and recipient of the College of Music Academic Leadership Award. 

Gabriel is in demand as a conductor on campus, having led four conducting recitals and conducted several ensembles including the University Philharmonia, Trombone Choir, Saxophone Orchestra, and Electronic Chamber Orchestra. As a proponent of new music, he has premiered and commissioned several new works for various chamber groups, and consistently advocates for rising composers in his programs. His private conducting teacher is Dr. Alexander Jimenez; he additionally studies with Prof. Richard Clary and Dr. Patrick Dunnigan. 

As a trombonist, he studies with Dr. John Drew; he has played with ensembles including the University Wind Orchestra and Symphonic Band. 

As a researcher, Gabriel studies with Dr. Clifford Madsen, and is currently preparing a defense of his Undergraduate Honors Thesis, studying the teachings of the late Dr. James Croft. 

Gabriel is the current president of the Florida Collegiate division of NAfME, and is a Past-President of the Florida State University CNAfME chapter. He is also the Student Coordinator of the FSU College of Music Board of Advisors Program, and is a member of the College of Music Dean's Student Advisory Council.

Michael is a Founding Coordinator of the Annual Florida Music Education Association Collegiate Music Education Initiative at the Florida Capitol, and has actively advocated for music education in both Washington D.C. and Tallahassee. He has given presentations on advocacy in state-level Music Education conferences, and has assisted several state collegiate MEAs in building their local advocacy initiatives.


Crider, Paula. (2010). The Conductor’s Legacy: Conductors on Conducting for Wind Band. Chicago: GIA Publications.

Duke, R.A., Prickett, C.A., & Jellison, J.A. (1998). Empirical Description of the Pace of Music Instruction (Vol. 46, Journal of Research in Music Education). Reston, VA: National Association for Music Education.

Hendon, D. (2013). “Legacy Project.” Retrieved from Florida Bandmasters Association:

Henninger, J. C. (2002). The effects of knowledge of instructional goals on observations of teaching and learning (Vol. 50, Journal of Research in Music Education). Reston, VA: National Association for Music Education.

Madsen, C. K., & Madsen, C. H. (2016). Teaching/discipline: a positive approach for educational development (5th ed.). Releigh, NC: Contemporary Publishing Company of Raleigh, Inc.

Mills, Alan W. (2010). The Life and Career of James Edwin Croft. PhD diss., Florida State University.

Silveira, Jason M. (2011). The Life and Career of James Edwin Croft. PhD diss., Florida State University.

Tippett, Michael. (1983). The Mask of Time. London: Ernst Eulenburg Ltd.

Tippett, Michael. (1993). Triumph: A Paraphrase on Music from the Mask of Time: for Concert Band. London: Schott.






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