Date of Award

9-12-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Dr. David Myers - Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Deming - Co-Chair

Third Advisor

Dr. Dana Fox

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Patrick Freer

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the lifelong meaning and influence of participation in a high school choral music program. This study described and analyzed the reflections of adults who participated in one high school choral program selected by the researcher as meeting high standards of practice in choral music. The eight participants, who were involved in the choral program for at least three years and pursued careers in fields other than music, were selected via criterion sampling and interviewed regarding their experiences in chorus and how those experiences may have influenced their lives. Semi-structured interviews were the primary method of investigation in this case study. The first interview began with a broad-scope, grand-tour question. Prior to the second interview, former-student participants reviewed transcriptions of the first interview. The second interview consisted of specific questioning around the possible lifelong influence of their choral experience. During the second interview, each former-student participant was asked to complete an evaluation survey of effective teaching strategies/dimensions based on their memories of their choral director. The data collection process took place over a period of approximately five months. The school’s choral director was observed to verify teaching strategies consistent with criteria established by the researcher and to provide contextual data for triangulation of former-student participant data. Interview data, field notes, and archival information were coded for analysis by relevant themes and narratives were crafted. Findings suggested that the lifelong influence of this high school choral program was related to multiple social aspects, including a sense of pride and achievement, as well as to the learned ability to critique and evaluate. Participants valued the high expectations of the choral director and the exposure to many genres of music. Data revealed that some self-perceived outcomes of the program, such as critical thinking and self-confidence, were influential in the development of lifelong learning skills. Findings implied that traditional performing ensembles in secondary schools may not provide the greatest opportunity for engaging school musical experiences that encourage lifelong involvement in music. Additionally, the findings revealed that extra-musical benefits of the program outweighed the musical influence in adulthood.

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