School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Kathryn Wert


SEL, community engagement, partnerships, music, band, education, recruitment, retention, middle school


Education | Music


Research has not yet found a correlation between community engagement and social-emotional learning (SEL) in a manner that benefits the recruitment and retention of suburban middle school band students. Teachers who create community engagement initiatives can boost the number of student recruits as the program becomes more widely recognized as a valuable asset of the school. This explanatory sequential mixed methods design study examined strategies regarding community engagement and SEL for recruiting and retaining middle school instrumental music education students. Perspectives on community engagement and SEL benefiting recruitment and retention of middle school band students emerged. Research revealed a connection between community engagement and social-emotional learning regarding middle school band recruitment and retention strategies. The researcher surveyed sixty-four suburban middle school band teachers regarding their perceptions of community engagement and SEL and their effects on recruitment and retention in their programs. The researcher interviewed four suburban middle school band teachers to gather their experiences and identify strategies in this area. This research can further advance middle school band teachers' approaches to recruiting and retaining students. Based on the findings of this research, researchers can conduct similar studies on recruitment and retention that embrace social-emotional learning competencies and community engagement initiatives for other types of music and elective courses.