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This multiple-case study addresses the nature of the out-of-school musical engagements of four undergraduate students who were enrolled as jazz studies majors in a large school of music in the U.S. southwest. It concerns what they did musically when they were outside of school, why they did what they did, what experiences they said they learned from, and how their out-of-school engagements related to their in-school curriculum. Research on jazz education, informal learning practices in music, and the in-school and out-of-school experiences of students informed this study. Data were generated through observation, interviews, video blogs (vlogs), and SMS text messages.
Analysis of data revealed that participants engaged with music when outside of school by practicing, teaching, gigging, recording, playing music with others, attending live musical performances, socializing with other musicians, listening, and engaging with non-jazz musical styles (aside from listening). They engaged with music because of: 1) the love of music, 2) the desire for musical excellence, 3) financial considerations, 4) the aspiration to affect others positively with music, and 5) the connection with other musicians. Participants indicated that they learned by practicing, listening to recordings, attending live performances, playing paid engagements, socializing, teaching, and reading. In-school and out-of-school experience and learning had substantial but not complete overlap.
The study implies that a balance between in-school and out-of-school musical experience may help undergraduate jazz studies students to maximize their overall musical learning. It also suggests that at least some jazz studies majors are fluent in a wide variety of music learning practices that make them versatile, flexible, and employable musicians. Further implications are provided for undergraduate jazz students as well as collegiate jazz educators, the music education profession, and schools of music. Additional implications concern future research and the characterization of jazz study in academia.
The purpose of this multiple case study was to investigate what students in three high school music groups perceived as most meaningful about their participation. I also examined the role that context played in shaping students' perceptions, and sought potential principles underlying meaning and value in instrumental ensembles. Over the course of six months I conducted a series of in-depth, semi-structured interviews with six student wind ensemble members, five student guitar class members, and six jazz band members at three high schools in Winnipeg, Canada. I interviewed the participants' music teachers and school principals, observed rehearsals and performances, and spoke informally with parents and peers. Drawing upon praxial and place philosophies, I examined students' experiences within the context of each music group, and looked for themes across the three groups. What students perceived to be meaningful about their participation was multifaceted and related to fundamental human concerns. Students valued opportunities to achieve, to form and strengthen relationships, to construct identities as individuals and group members, to express themselves and communicate with others, and to engage with and through music. Although these dimensions were common to students in all three groups, students experienced and made sense of them differently, and thus experienced meaningful participation in multiple, variegated ways. Context played a substantial role in shaping not only the dimensions of meanings most salient to participants but also the ways that music experiences became meaningful for those involved. What students value and find meaningful about their participation in instrumental music education has been neither well documented nor thoroughly explored. This study raises questions about the ways that meaningful musical engagement might extend beyond the boundaries of school, and contributes student perspectives sorely needed in ongoing conversations concerning the relevance of music education in students' lives.
The purposes of this study were (a) to develop a reliable and valid measure of secondary student attitudes toward band teacher turnover using the Thurstone (1928) equal-appearing interval scale as a model, and (b) to administer this measurement tool to determine attitudes of high school band students toward teacher turnover. This procedure included collecting statements about an imagined teacher turnover from students in the population (N = 216) and having student judges (N = 95) sort the statements into eleven categories based on how positive, neutral, or negative, each statement was perceived. The judging results were then analyzed, and 29 statements were selected for inclusion in the final survey, which was completed by students (N = 521) from 10 randomly selected high schools in Arizona. Student responses were analyzed and compared by the independent variables of gender, grade level, and band teacher turnover experience, to determine if significant differences existed. Results indicated that the overall students' attitudes toward teacher turnover are neutral. One significant difference was found in the slightly positive attitudes of students in the year immediately following a band teacher turnover. This only lasts a year, as students in the second year of a teacher turnover were found to have comparable attitudes to students who have not experienced a new teacher transition. Findings also suggest seniors may have a different perspective than other students toward teacher turnover.