Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Music

Document Type



Despite an abundance of evidence-based research pointing to the effectiveness of long-term teacher professional development (PD) (Darling-Hammond, Hyler & Gardner, 2017; Desimone, 2009), instrumental music teachers who seek to improve their teaching practices are limited to and often prefer short-term PD opportunities (Bauer, 2007; West, 2020). In recent years, a growing knowledge base focused on music teacher PD has given attention to long-term, content-based and collaborative music PD (Conway, 2015; Kastner, 2014; Stanley, Snell & Edgar, 2014) while a dearth of evidence-based research exists on short-term music PD (Bauer, 2007; West, 2020). The purpose of this collective case study was to examine short-term professional development through participants’ experiences at a professional development workshop designed to introduce and guide implementation of an approach to teaching beginning band, unfamiliar to the participants. Three short-term professional development learning contexts (self-study through reading, self-study through observation, and group collaboration) anchored the study and served as single case studies. Nine preservice instrumental music teachers—three in each cohort—attended a one-day workshop designed to deliver instruction through one of the three learning contexts.

Each cohort demonstrated the ability to apply aspects of the PD content to teaching practice and expressed positive beliefs about the PD encounter. By the end of the workshop, the reading and collaboration cohorts were positioned to begin applying the approach to teaching practice while the observation cohort was still developing their understanding of the approach. Analysis revealed seven themes centered around—instructional goals, engaging learners, pedagogical shift, misunderstandings, self-efficacy, interest/value and attitude. Considered collectively, they show participants exhibiting aspects of pedagogical content knowledge and shared beliefs about their PD experience.

This study brings forth a more nuanced understanding of short-term PD. Findings, herein, contribute to the knowledge base by suggesting the potential for effective short-term PD formats and offering recommendations for improvement. It is imperative that music education continue to build an evidence-based foundation related to the professional growth of music teachers. Future research on short-term music teacher PD should involve in-service teachers, include learner outcomes, and examine teachers as self-regulated learners beyond the PD encounter.



Committee Chair

Byo, James L.