Beginning Music Teacher Perspectives on Teaching Music in Urban Settings
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In an effort to gain insight on the lived experiences of novice urban music educators, the purpose of this instrumental case study was to examine beginning music teachers’ perspectives of cultural relevance in relation to music instruction in urban school settings within in a large Southwestern city. Research questions focused on the perspectives that beginning music teachers have about their preparation to teach music in urban settings, the role of student culture in beginning music teachers’ instruction, and the meanings that beginning music teachers place on their experiences of teaching music in urban settings. Data were collected based on Seidman’s (2013) three interview series, consisting of audio recordings from two semi-structured individual interviews for each participant, a 15-20-minute video recording from each participant teaching in their classroom, and an audio recording of one focus group interview. Participants included three beginning music teachers currently employed in urban schools in a major metropolitan city in the Southern United States. In this study, a teacher was considered a beginning teacher if they had zero to three years of experience teaching music in urban school settings. Regarding the participants’ perspectives to teach music in urban settings, four broad themes were revealed consisting of a lack of preservice curricular content related to teaching in urban schools, outside resources as support, individual professional development, and providing hope through music education. Concerning the role that student culture plays in beginning music teachers’ instruction, the results revealed three broad themes related to connectivity & relatability, concerts, and differentiated instruction. The broad themes that were revealed in relation to the meanings that beginning music teachers place on their experiences of teaching music in urban settings were familial roles, respect (giving and receiving), cultural sensitivity, peer support (camaraderie), and lack of internal support. Implications for current music educators as well as music teacher educators and higher education are included in this study. Future research should consider examining teaching music in urban school settings longitudinally, as well as the effect of culturally relevant pedagogy on student retention in urban school music programs.
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