Date of Award

Spring 2021


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Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM) in Music Education




This action research aimed to examine the factors contributing to student retention in a middle school band program through the self-reported perspectives of students. With a critical inquiry framework, it was anticipated that the results would inform potential action by the researcher aimed at increasing student access to music programs. Through an empirical descriptive design using survey technique, the study population included band students at the school where the researcher was teaching at the time of the study. Results of data analysis indicate that students mostly made their decisions independently, while some were influenced by parents and peers. The most prominent influences on continuing in band were reported as follows: enjoyment of the music itself, qualities of their instrument, social interactions with peers, the teacher, sense of accomplishment, and positive emotional experiences in band. Challenges to continuing in band were indicated by a few students to include: missing other electives, the appearance (condition) and mechanics of certain instruments, learning new music, financial obligations of the instrument, and reports of negative interactions with peers. Many students reported being unable to practice outside of band however few mentioned this as a challenge to staying in band. It makes sense that students do not find this a major problem because this particular school allows for 50 minutes of band rehearsal five days a week. The results led to ideas for actions to be taken on improving retention.