Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Student attitudes and teacher perceptions regarding creativity, composition, and its assessment possibilities were investigated using mixed-method techniques in two differing high school music programs. A Talented Music Program, providing accelerated instruction to gifted musicians (with composition instruction) and a typical performance based band program (composition never taught) were examined. Students participated in a six-week composition program. Final compositions were evaluated by differing judging groups: teachers, students, and expert composers. Data were collected through interviews, observations, attitude surveys, student and teacher journals, and composition assessment. Analysis of teacher perceptions revealed themes indentifying challenges to creativity development in high school classrooms: tradition of performance culture, time required, large class setting, and teacher preparation. Following composition instruction, the band director felt that, with solid preparation and engaging activities, composition instruction was meaningful. He discovered high levels of student interest, in depth musical learning, and believed the creative effort of his students was exceptional. The talented music teacher addressed the themes in different ways. Small class setting was a benefit, but providing enough time for the thought intensive activity of composition was a challenge. Both teachers expressed surprise that students who were not exceptional performers composed some of the most creative compositions and the sense of student accomplishment was dramatic. Student attitude, assessed through interviews, journals, and creativity attitude surveys, indicated that in the band program, positive attitude towards composition increased significantly from pre to post instruction, while the talented music students, with previous composition experience, showed no change in attitude. Students also believed that there was not enough time spent on composition activities and that creativity development was important because it promoted individuality and helped to develop greater appreciation for musical details in the music they performed. Composition assessment, conducted using Amabile’s consensual assessment technique, revealed that composers were the least reliable judges of creativity, craftsmanship, and aesthetic appeal in student compositions. The student groups were moderately reliable in assessment of their own compositions and teachers were highly reliable at judging all three dimensions. Level of student composition experience correlated with craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal, but not with creativity.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Cassidy, Jane W.



Included in

Music Commons