Date of Award

Summer 8-8-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Patrick K. Freer

Second Advisor

Dr. Martin Norgaard

Third Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Cross

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Charity Gordon


The purpose of this qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological study was to better understand and support music teacher educators (MTE) by investigating their course content and pedagogical choices. I conducted, transcribed, interpreted, and gleaned meaning from a total of eight 60-minute interviews. Study participants were six university MTEs and one MTE doctoral teaching assistant from a Southeastern area institutions that offer an undergraduate program leading to teacher certification in music. The research questions that guided this study were focused on the content and pedagogical choices of MTEs. Through an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) technique, I identified six sets of findings and implications that can help guide future MTEs’ preparation of music preservice teachers (PST). 1) MTEs need support, both financial and administrative. Like novice music teachers, MTEs need content-specific professional development, not on their own time or financing. 2) Some of the support and resources MTEs need could be taught and discussed in a “How to Teach Teachers” course for graduate students. 3) Academic freedom for MTEs is necessary to fill gaps in the literature and education of PSTs, but MTEs must be held academically accountable to maintain consistency and quality in music teacher education programs. 4) The MTE, PST, and cooperating teacher relationship is a unique collaboration that can uplift or discourage a novice music teacher. MTEs need university specific investigations into their graduates’ perspectives on their teacher preparation experience to better facilitate future MTEs’, PSTs’, CTs’ relationships. 5) The goal of a music teacher education program is agency and efficacy not independent teachers. 6) Attrition of early-career teachers will occur, despite the efforts of MTEs. These findings led me to an ultimate implication that MTEs are doing the best they can with what they are given, but content-specific professional development provided by institution administration and recent graduate perspective research are necessary for the MTE, PST, and CT triadic relationship to thrive.


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