Music ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 5-9-2018


The goal of this study is to determine several best practices for teaching high school band in low socioeconomic settings. University professors with over 25 years of experience teaching in the state were asked to recommend three high school band programs in different settings that exhibited the following characteristics: 1) a high level of musical skill and achievement, 2) an excellent teacher responsible for the program, and 3) a high number of program alumni continuing to play music after high school, and 4) eligible for federal Title 1 funds-at least 40% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Three programs were recommended, one urban, one remote, and one semi-rural. Band directors at each school were interviewed, observed and submitted artifacts such as handbooks, syllabus, and performance calendars. Data from the artifacts, observations and interviews were coded for elements concerning the nature of student instruction, the educator(s) responsible for instruction, and how the program was funded and supported. Themes that emerged were: consistent student contact time, efficient rehearsal structure, director's outstanding musicianship, positive rapport, high expectations, vertical alignment, a team/family atmosphere, relatively low band fees, directors pride in their position, fundraising, and parent booster programs. There are implications that students with low socioeconomic status benefit from consistent instructional time, high expectations, teachers from different levels working together, positive rapport, and a team/group mentality. There are additional implications that the profession needs to address methods for evaluation of excellence and preparation of preservice teachers to teach in a variety of settings.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Music

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Robin Giebelhausen

Second Committee Member

Dr. Regina Carlow

Third Committee Member

Professor Eric Rombach-Kendall




Band, socioeconomic status, instrumental music, best practices, high school band, achievement

Document Type



This is a qualitative study about the characteristics of three high school band programs in the southwest United States in low socioeconomic settings that were recommended by University faculty as being high achieving.

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