School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Rebecca Watson


Student Voice, Students’ Perception, Representation


Education | Music


As the United States becomes more socially and culturally diverse, there is a greater need for diversity and inclusivity in music education. This goal can be challenging as the classical traditions of westernized music often dominate music classrooms and performing ensembles. The secondary band curriculum is no exception. Despite numerous sources stating that students must perceive a representation of themselves in an educational curriculum, secondary band students have yet to be surveyed about their perceptions of the music curriculum in which they are engaging daily. Educators must understand if students see themselves reflected in the curriculum. This reflection can be evident through music, learning styles, composers, clinicians, and instructors. This qualitative research study recovers the perspectives of secondary band students from different music programs throughout the United States to illustrate their experiences of diversity and inclusivity in the secondary band curriculum. Perspectives on the identity and representation of culturally common role models, selection of student-interest repertoire, identification of learning styles, and invitations to clinicians have emerged as themes through the exploration of a small body of existing literature and personal interviews of secondary band students. This study could advance the field of music education and specifically the secondary band curriculum by identifying how students perceive a representation of themselves and their cultures in the current curriculum. This project will serve as an example of the perspectives of students and creative arts research and could encourage further research to apply to other areas of music education and non-music subjects.