Exploring Middle and High School Band Directors’ Perceptions of Collaboration and Its Impact on Their Programs: A Qualitative Study
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Curriculum and Teaching
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Collaboration is the act of working together to achieve a set goal. Band programs are essentially designed for students' progression from middle to high school and beyond. It would seem natural for band directors at all levels to want to collaborate their teaching skills to benefit the number one stakeholder of their programs, the students. However, collaboration in the band director community appears to be a rarity and is uncommon among band directors with connected programs. This qualitative study explored middle and high school band director pairs’ perceptions of collaboration and its potential impact on the success and growth of their programs. The interview process divulged the lived experiences of middle school and high school director pairs who work collaboratively for the success of their students and programs. The twelve band director pairs came from a nationwide invitation via posts on Facebook band director pages, the BAND App seeking interviewees, colleagues’ suggestions, and snowballing. After transcribing the interviews, I used the ATLAS.ti software program to label, organize, and interpret codes/themes. The iterative coding process revealed four themes: Collaboration, Building Relationships, Communication, and Student-Centered. The over-arching essence encompassing these four themes was these band directors’ focus on developing and growing One Comprehensive Band Program. The data revealed four themes. The first theme was that of collaboration. The pairs/teams of band directors interviewed discussed types, benefits, and hindrances to collaboration. The four types of collaboration were Team Teaching, Performances/Programs, Shared Goals, and Vertical Alignment. The three benefits of collaboration discussed were Student Growth, Recruitment and Retention, and Visibility. The other three themes of Building Relationships, Communication, and a Student-Centered program can offer band director pairs guidance on building a successful comprehensive program cultivated from the middle school to high school band programs. There are opportunities for future research based on the findings of this project. Future phenomenological studies could include a case study based on the school setup. An ethnographic study would allow researchers to immerse themselves in the different band directors’ programs. The findings from this research could also lead to a mixed-methods design with a national survey. The data from the survey could then be analyzed to help focus questions for interviewing future band directors to generalize for band directors across the nation. There is also plenty of room to explore the perspectives of the other band program stakeholders.