School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Paul Rumrill


Social-Emotional Learning, SEL, Music Education, Choral Music Education, Whole-child learning, Student-centered learning


Music | Music Education


Middle school is a pivotal time for many students as they navigate through mental, emotional, and hormonal changes which affect various aspects of their personal and educational well-being. A teacher’s care balancing social and emotional aspects of learning can be catalyst that makes a profound difference for students. Social-emotional learning (SEL) under this title is still in its infancy as a tool for classroom engagement and management. Additionally, there is very little research in the way of SEL specific to the middle school choral classroom. The hope is that in a content analysis of the benefits of SEL through the lens of choral music education specific to middle school, a new pathway to whole-child instruction might be found and capitalized on. The following was a qualitative study using content analysis that explored how SEL competencies were reflected in the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) and the most beneficial way to apply SEL strategies in the choral classroom. Chorus music education was found to include aspects of social, emotional, mental and behavioral health. Social-emotional learning strategies and techniques were naturally reflected in music education and the post-2014 National Core Arts Standards. The intricate academic and social realities of choral music education lend themselves to SEL practices. The choral music class is a place where humanity and culture came together to provide space for personal and relational interactions can occur.