Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Patrick K. Freer

Second Advisor

Dr. Janice B. Fournillier

Third Advisor

Dr. Martin Norgaard

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Iman Chahine


Numerous studies have found that stereotype threat can negatively affect academic performance, especially for Black students. However, studies have also shown that many African Americans have used the threat to enhance motivation and achievement. McGee & Martin (2011) used stereotype management to explain how Black mathematic students handled racial stereotypes and exhibited high achievement and resilience within an environment where stereotypes threatened performance. This study was designed to apply and extend research on stereotype threat and stereotype management to non-experimental, real-world accounts of Black music students. The purpose of this study was to investigate how Black music students identify and respond to identity stereotypes throughout their music education . The focus was on the issues of motivation and resilience. The study was designed to elicit the current and past experiences of Black doctoral music students and graduates, within the sociocultural context of their music programs and communities. This study was grounded in a phenomenological theoretical framework and employed narrative inquiry methods. The following questions framed the study: How do Black doctoral music students and graduates report their experiences in music education classrooms and related activities? What types of stereotypes do Black doctoral music students and graduates encounter? The findings reveal that the major experiences were related to gender and SES stereotypes in earlier years, and almost exclusively racial stereotyping in college years. However the participants’ strengthening racial identity directly affected their responses to racial stimuli in their experiences. In addition, pride in Black identity not only served as motivation in the presence of racial stereotyping but also had debilitating effects. Finally, stereotype management manifested in determination to prove naysayers wrong, adamant defiance of stereotypes, and the desire to give back to future Black music students. Implications include suggestions on how music programs can build agency and resilience, and support the success of minority students and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Findings from this study corroborate findings on the experiences of Black doctoral students in other disciplines. The results encourage further research on the effects of identity on the success of music students.