Students' Perceptions of an Urban Music Education Program: Musical Offerings and Preparation for Lifelong Music-making

Open Access
Bulgarelli, Daniel Ryan
Area of Honors:
Music Education
Bachelor of Music Education
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Darrin Howard Thornton, Thesis Supervisor
  • Ann Callistro Clements, Honors Advisor
  • music
  • music education
  • urban
  • student perception
  • preparation
  • lifelong music
  • music engagement
The purpose of this study was to examine various students’ perceptions of the urban high school music programs in which they participate, and how these programs meet their respective students’ needs for lifelong music-making. A multi-faceted approach was used to conduct this study. Research was conducted through interview in focus groups consisting of two to three current high school students. In these focus groups, students were asked questions relevant to their past musical experiences (curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular). Students were asked questions to develop a further understanding of and gain insight into their own personal musical interests and passions. Additionally, students were asked to inventory the various aspects of their high school music experience. Students were then prompted with several hypothetical situations and asked to describe any potential benefit or interest in these potential offerings. Finally, students reflected upon their high school music experience, detailing what lasting impression this program has made upon them and how it might influence their future with music. The data gathered in these interviews was summarized and analyzed by the researcher, looking for common themes, ideas, or patterns in responses. The results indicated the majority of students’ perception of their music programs was most favorable when the students participated due to a genuine appreciation and interest in music and music-making, and that this favorable perception led to a greater likelihood of participation in music after graduation from high school.