School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Rebecca Watson


COVID-19 pandemic, high school band participation, instrumental music education


Education | Music


At the time of this writing, the impact of the recent COVID-19 pandemic on music education at the secondary level is yet unknown. This study aims to collect and review available data to determine if the COVID-19 pandemic may have had an effect on participation in high school band in Minnesota. This convergent parallel mixed methods research study examines statistical data available through the Freedom of Information Act from a sampling of 167 out of a possible 476 public high schools in Minnesota to determine a potential impact between the COVID-19 pandemic and enrollment in high school band. This is achieved by reviewing high school band enrollment trends from the past five years and comparing them to the difference in enrollment levels in the falls of 2019, 2020, and 2021. A survey was also sent to Minnesota band directors to assess their perspectives regarding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their band programs. The survey was distributed electronically, and seventy-seven Minnesota high school band directors completed the survey. The results of the study observed a decrease in high school band participation from the fall of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, to the fall of 2021. The data show a decrease in enrollment in Minnesota high school band programs following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Band director feedback is consistent with these findings. This project serves as an early benchmark in understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected participation in band in Minnesota high schools, and as an early metric on which future research regarding band participation and the COVID-19 pandemic may be based.