School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Hanna Byrd


Student Engagement, Middle School Music Ensembles, Music History in Middle School


Education | Music


Understanding history is a vital part of learning. Nearly every question asked in a music classroom about musical context involves its history, from notation to gestures or technicality to aural listening. History can bring music to life for both the performers and listeners. Despite multiple studies on specific historical music events, music history perspectives have not been addressed in the choral classroom. Moreover, research forums have yet to explore engagement factors of middle school students through a music history curriculum in the choir classrooms. Such research could provide a valid model for educators. This mixed-methods research study seeks to determine if music history lessons offer a statistically significant difference in student engagement by identifying viewpoints that have not been explored and documented concerning middle school choir students’ learning, values, and understanding of music. The researcher will illustrate an engagement of middle school choir students with the musical genres of jazz, rock, pop, and classical before and after mini-lessons about the historical context. Responses were collected through a pre-test and post-test survey and questionnaire. This quasi-experiment will utilize a control and variable group of seventh-grade choir students (N=68) from a middle school in Iowa.