Date of Award

Summer 8-12-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Patrick K. Freer

Second Advisor

Peggy Albers

Third Advisor

Chris Oshima

Fourth Advisor

Katie Carlisle

Fifth Advisor

Deron Boyles


The purposes of this study were (a) to explore the individualized meanings of creativity of students within choral ensembles; and (b) to identify the effects that teachers’ perceptions and classroom environment have on helping students shape the meaning of creativity. The study took the form of the Explanatory Sequential mixed methods design of Creswell and Plano Clark (2011). The first phase of research was a survey administered to middle/high school chorus students (N = 314) and middle/high school chorus teachers (N = 11). Participants were selected from 6 middle schools and 5 high schools across 3 different school districts in the southern United States. The Measures of Creativity Perceptions Assessment survey was researcher-created and validated by an earlier pilot study. It consisted of Likert-scaled questions measuring the importance of purposes of music education and frequency of certain musical topics address in class. Participants also rated their perceptions of how they found certain activities to be creative, as well as how much student input and musical decision making were present in chorus class. Findings showed that most students found their chorus class to contain creative activities. They were unable to explain through which activity creativity occurred. Findings from the quantitative survey helped to form a qualitative second phase, including teacher interviews and student focus groups. 2 teachers were interviewed. 2 focus groups were conducted, comprised of 4 students from each of the interviewed teachers (total of 8 students across the 2 focus groups). Qualitative findings suggested that middle school students viewed creativity differently inside chorus than they did in general. This likely came from the influence of their teacher as well as a process-oriented view of creativity. High school students had traditional understandings yet noted that creative activities, like improvisation and composition, were absent from their chorus classes. Teacher participants stated that they felt unconfident in leading such lessons, and were most affected by their undergraduate professors. Implications include additional focus on creativity in undergraduate music teacher preparation programs. This would also address the recent revision of the music education national standards. Further research involving student perceptions of creativity is necessary.