Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Kevin Fortner, Ph.D., Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Patrick Freer, Ed.D., Committee Co-Chair

Third Advisor

Deron Boyles, Ph.D., Committee Member

Fourth Advisor

Martin Norgaard, Ph.D., Committee Member

Fifth Advisor

Katie Carlisle, Ph.D., Committee Member


The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of eighth grade band students about high school band programs and the influence of marching band on their decision to participate in high school band. For this study, the term “high school band program” refers to curricular offerings scheduled during school hours. This is in contrast to “marching bands” which operate beyond school hours and are generally non-curricular. Using quantitative and qualitative data, this study collected students’ perceptions about high school band programs and their marching bands. The study employed a fixed mixed methods design (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). The first phase of the research study included a questionnaire administered to eighth grade band students (N = 282). Participants were selected from seven middle schools across four different school districts in the southeastern United States. The Perceptions of High School Band Assessment questionnaire was researcher-created and validated by a pilot study. The questionnaire consisted of Likert-scaled questions measuring the perceptions and intentions of eighth grade band students regarding participation in the middle school band, participation in the high school band program, and participation in the marching band. The quantitative results indicated that a majority of students enjoyed band in middle school, but there were concerns regarding continued band participation in the high school band program and participation in the marching band, including repertoire selection and friend influences. Findings from the quantitative questionnaire helped form the qualitative phase that consisted of two focus groups at each school (N = 22). The qualitative findings suggested eighth grade band students viewed participation in the high school band with doubt and concern. This stemmed from several issues, including personal relationships with friends and fellow band members and the time commitment necessary for participation in the high school concert and marching bands. The analysis revealed that 66% percent of students (N = 169) surveyed indicated that they intend on participating in the high school band program and that mandatory marching band policies inhibit enrollment in the overall band program. Implications address topics including repertoire selection, relevance, and course scheduling.