School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Nathan L. Street


exceptional ability, expertise, gift, innate capacity, music, potential, prodigy, specific ability, talent




Despite literature investigating the effects of ecology on student development, very little research has been conducted concerning the influence of the adolescent living environment on the development of musical skills related to music performance. Gaining a clear understanding of adolescent environmental factors' influence on musical skill development will afford more students the opportunity to participate in music education and performance. Through a qualitative research approach, this study aims to investigate the effect of adolescent living environment on musical skill development by interviewing eight professional opera singers. In exploring the findings from this research, similarities in adolescent living environment have been evaluated, their effects on skill development has been investigated. This study illustrates how environmental factors related to the individual’s circumstance, opportunity, education, and ideology influences musical skill development rather than innate talent in predicting professional success and expertise. This research provides evidence of the universality of music education for all learners and highlights the capacity of all human beings to develop skills. Utilizing this research, educators across all disciplines can provide data supporting the influence of environmental factors on skill development. Understanding how misconceptions of talent discourage music participation and providing evidence that all students have a capacity towards musical skill development, this research affords music education a valuable tool in advocating for musical opportunities for all learners.

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