Providing opportunities for students to participate in music as part of a comprehensive education remains a core value of American education. However, the small proportion of school music participants suggests that existing music programs may not be serving all students. The purpose of this sequential explanatory mixed methods study was to investigate those factors and barriers associated with students' decisions not to participate in school music programs, with an emphasis on the experiences of students from underserved populations. This investigation was guided by the expectancy-value and constraint negotiation theories related to activity choice behaviors. Constraint negotiation, from leisure sociology, posits that participation in any activity is the result of successfully navigating constraints, and when constraints become barriers, nonparticipation results. In the first, quantitative phase of the study, data were collected from students in a Midwestern high school (N = 319). Quantitative results indicated seven predictors of school music participation and nonparticipation in a logistic regression model: race/ethnicity, free or reduced lunch status, perceptions and attitudes toward school music, musical task difficulty, and personal perception, conflicting activity, and school music structural constraints. In the second, qualitative phase of the study, an instrumental collective case study (N = 12) was used to examine student nonparticipation. Data were collected through interviews, transcripts, observations of music classes, interviews with music teachers, field notes, and artifacts. Qualitative results revealed five cross-case themes: nonparticipant musicians, choice as a hierarchy of personal values, school music as a closed system, the power of personal perceptions, and a desire for student-centered pedagogy. A connected mixed methods analysis identified areas of convergence and divergence between the quantitative and qualitative data that primarily confirmed the statistical analysis. Based on these results, a preliminary model of school music constraints was developed to explain student experiences with school music. The results suggested that recognizing the barriers to school music participation and implementing student-centered pedagogical practices may assist in the engagement and sustained participation of more students in school music. Further research exploring constraint negotiation is recommended to develop a greater understanding of the experiences of both school music participants and nonparticipants.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2015. Major: Music Education. Advisor: Scott Lipscomb. 1 computer file (PDF); iv, 581 pages.
A Mixed Methods Investigation of Student Nonparticipation in Secondary School Music.
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