This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Survey of In-service Music Teacher Preparedness for Teaching Non-Traditional Music Courses and Ensembles in Secondary-level Schools




Colquhoun, Shane

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Curriculum and Teaching


Despite efforts to diversify music curriculum in secondary schools, research indicates that music education in the United States (U.S.) primarily focuses on western classical music, overemphasizes performance, and fails to reach most students in secondary level schools (Bates, 2011; Kratus, 2007; Williams, 2012). The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate in-service music teacher preparedness for teaching non-traditional music courses in secondary-level schools. Specifically, this research examined which non-traditional courses are offered in the U.S. and how often they are offered in different geographical areas. In addition, this research investigated whether there were significant differences between several areas. First, if there were differences between non-traditional course offerings based on participants’ (a) geographical areas; (b) primary teaching area (band, choir, orchestra, general); (c) years of teaching experience; (d) attendance at professional development that specifically focuses non-traditional music courses/ensembles and teacher preparation. Second, if there were differences between teacher specialty area and (a) outside training that specifically focuses non-traditional music courses/ensembles; and (b) non-traditional course offerings based on music educators training and musical experiences. Finally, if there were differences between music educators’ content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, personal non-traditional ensemble participation, and personal experiences in informal music activities. Potential participants (N = 14062) included secondary-level music educators who were members of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA). Music educators were invited to participate through the NAfME Research Assistance Program and through TMEA Leadership. Data were collected through a researcher-designed questionnaire, modeled after similar studies in non-traditional music (Sanderson, 2014; Veronee, 2017), and a study on Jazz ensemble programs (Jones, 2009). A total of 531 participants completed the questionnaire. Results yielded three key findings: (a) Guitar, Music Theory, Music Appreciation, and Piano are the most frequently offered NTMCEs; (b) music educators are underprepared to teach NTMCEs based on their in-service teacher preparation; and (c) multicultural and popular music ensembles were the least offered and participants were least interested in offering NTMCEs.