School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Hanna Byrd


Middle School band transitioning to High School band, student attrition, student retention


Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Music


Student retention is essential for band programs at any level to succeed and grow. This study includes results of student surveys of current high-school students who took band during their middle school years, seeking essential factors affecting student perceptions about continuation into high school band programs. Research into band student enrollment and retention exist, yet limited resources focus on transitioning from middle to high school. Studies indicate that participation in large music ensembles, such as bands, provides social, emotional, and academic benefits. Increasing student retention across this transition could yield improved student experiences and achievement in music and beyond. Existing research combined with student survey results constitutes a qualitative thematic analyzing why students who have learned much about the basics of instrumental music in middle school band elect not to continue their studies in high school. Based on existing literature, peer-connectedness, parental support, and director rapport are likely indicators for continuation in the band. By improving band student retention rates, improvements in overall graduation rates may also be achieved.