Master of Music (MM)



Document Type



Students have various opportunities to participate in school music. The large ensemble model that follows the Western Classical music tradition is the most commonly used model for music education in secondary schools; however, many students in secondary schools do not participate in school music. Recently, alternative approaches (i.e. popular music, world music, guitar, etc.) have been proposed as valuable music experiences that may increase student participation in school music. The aim of this study was to examine the philosophical foundations and pedagogical practices used at a secondary school that has implemented alternative approaches. I also explored student experiences with these courses and the perceived values, benefits, and challenges of participation from both student and teacher perspectives. Ethnographic data collection strategies were used with songwriting and guitar classes in order to address the research questions. Analysis of observations, interview transcripts, and material culture revealed that the courses were grounded in the instructor’s philosophy of student inclusivity and advocacy. The learning outcomes and pedagogical practices were connected to this philosophy and aligned with the National Standards. Students were motivated by curiosity and instructor effectiveness, and they were enthusiastic about the courses. Benefits included the fostering of creativity, critical listening, musical independence, and collaboration. Challenges included technical mastery of the guitar and working through the creative process. These findings suggest that alternative music approaches have many benefits for students. The results of this study were used to create a theoretical framework for practitioner use.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Bartolome, Sarah



Included in

Music Commons