School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Brian Stiffler


Teaching In The Trenches, recruitment, retention, urban schools, band directors, advocate




The recruitment and retention of high school band directors in urban settings are unique challenges in the 21st century. Those who advocate for arts education present evidence that participation in fine arts programs enhances student learning. Significant correlations exist between involvement in the arts and standardized test scores, high school graduation rates, and overall school attendance. However, funding and support are essential concerns for arts programs today. Funding and support through necessary resources affect the recruitment and retention of band directors in urban settings. Little research exists to describe these views. Exploring band directors' lived experiences working in urban schools supplies insight into recruitment and retention. Data collected through interviews with high school band directors from urban school settings were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Conclusions fostered through analysis may help improve the recruitment and retention of teachers. Describing the experiences of band directors teaching in urban settings may raise support among education leaders and policymakers. Future research stemming from this study may help guide advocacy. As a result, study findings may help educators improve overall funding for fine arts programs, gain access to musical instruments needed for instruction and performance, and generate added resources to enhance effective teaching and learning in music and other art branches.

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