Promoting Band Participation: A Case Study Of One High School Band Director’s Beliefs



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Lifelong musical participation is an often-stated goal of music educators, but much of the research considering post-secondary band participation relies on the testimony of current collegiate participants (Isbell & Stanley, 2011; Mantie, 2013; Moder, 2013). To date there have been no studies which explore the beliefs of the high school band director on post-secondary band participation. The purpose of this case study was to describe the beliefs of a high school band director regarding lifelong instrumental music participation and explore how those beliefs shape her daily practice. Fives and Buehl’s (2012) understanding of teacher beliefs served as a conceptual framework for this study. The following research questions guided the study: (1) What, if anything, does one high school band director believe about lifelong instrumental music participation? (2) In what ways do one teacher’s beliefs about lifelong instrumental music participation serve as filters, frames, or guides for action (Fives & Buehl, 2012)? (3) How do beliefs about lifelong instrumental music participation appear in one teacher’s practice on a daily basis? (4) How, if at all, are one high school band director’s beliefs about lifelong instrumental music participation influenced by other contextual factors? This inquiry was a case study of one high school band director, Diane Snyder, who teaches at a large, successful band program in Texas. Data collection occurred over four months and included semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, email responses, and artifacts. The data was coded to determine emergent themes. Trustworthiness was enhanced through prolonged time in the field, multiple data sources, and participant member checks (Creswell, 2007). The themes that emerged from this study center around Diane Snyder’s core beliefs about teaching band: (a) creating a culture of excellence, ownership, and compassionate community; (b) building independent musicians; and (c) learning from mentors. Diane’s central beliefs about teaching band led her to create an environment that encourages post-secondary music participation by providing her students with the skills, confidence, connections, and will to continue. High school band directors might benefit from considering whether they create an environment that supports continued music participation and whether their teaching practice encourages independent musicianship and continued participation beyond high school.



Band Participation, Teacher beliefs