This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Phenomenological Study of High School Band Student Leadership Selection




Posey, Benjamin C.

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Curriculum and Teaching


Band directors are expected to designate student leaders who can fulfill the requirements of their responsibilities effectively. While essential leadership characteristics may vary depending on the ensemble needs, students should be aware of the student leadership selection process in their program and the expectancies of leadership roles assigned. Directors can benefit from considering the leadership roles needed in their music programs and how to prepare students to achieve success in these leadership positions. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to investigate nationally recognized high school band directors’ experiences in determining the best student leadership qualifications and abilities for their programs, methods used to increase desired leadership abilities in high school band students, character traits observed in high school band student leaders, and experiences which may develop future student leaders for their respective band programs. Ten high school band directors were interviewed for this study based on their individual program’s recognition in the nationally respected Bands of America (BOA) marching arts events. Participants led their marching band programs to finals performances at BOA Regional, Super Regional, and Grand National Championship events. All participants had similar lived experiences in utilizing student leadership in their respective high school band programs. Four major themes evolved with an overarching concept encompassing all themes emerged. The major themes are Past Experiences, Student Leadership Application Methods, Student Leadership Training, and Traits of Student Leaders. The overarching concept encompassing these four themes was the development, evolution, and/or preservation of a band program Culture. The concept of Culture was noticed in all stages of the participants’ experiences with student leadership. Research findings revealed these nationally recognized high school band directors used experiences, past and present, to develop student leadership programs that will cycle each band’s unique culture into the next generation of student leaders in their band program. This qualitative phenomenological research study fills a void in current literature on student leadership selection from a band director’s experiences and can offer empirical data to support future research within student leadership selection procedures.