Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Patrick K. Freer

Second Advisor

Dr. Gholnecsar Muhammad

Third Advisor

Dr. Martin Norgaard

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Gertrude Tinker-Sachs


This study was designed to be an exploration of the pre-service experiences of 10 Black urban band directors. The focus of this study was on the experiences of the individual teachers. This study was loosely based on Fitzpatrick’s (2008) study of urban instrumental music teachers in the Chicago Public Schools. This phenomenological study utilized Critical Race Theory as a theoretical framework to frame the participants stories. There were two phases of data collection: Phase I: phone interviews and Phase II: In-person interviews. The participants consisted of Black band directors selected from middle and high schools located in one urban school district in the Southeastern part of the United States.

The following research questions framed this study: 1) How have experiences during pre-service music teacher preparation programs supported Black urban band director’s capacities to teach in the urban setting? 2) How have the experiences from pre-service music teacher preparation programs impacted the teaching practices of Black urban band directors? and 3) How do in-service Black urban band directors who have been teaching for five years or more describe their experiences as a teacher? The following seven themes emerged: 1) teaching experiences needed; 2) managing the classroom; 3) overcoming challenges; 4) mentoring; 5) building relationships; 6) establishing sense of worth; and 7) rewarding experiences. The findings from this study offers a counter-narrative of the deficit laden views of teaching band in urban settings. Implications and suggestions for future research address pre- and in-service teachers and music teacher educators.


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