School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Rebecca Watson


community, community learning exchange, educational partnerships, professional learning communities, developing/metro-commuting rural music education




This explanatory sequential mixed method study identified the challenges of creating, implementing, evaluating, and revising a Music Education Learning Community (MELC) model in developing/metro-commuting rural school districts outside the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex of Texas. Influences such as Professional Learning Communities (PLC), the Community Learning Exchange (CLE), and educational partnerships have accelerated the need for applied collaborations to improve music programs. This study showed increased support through a Music Education Learning Community (MELC). MELCs enhanced the skills and knowledge of music educators, families, and community organizations through collaborative analysis, an exchange of expertise, and frequent dialogue. The focus of this study was twofold: it identified limitations that music educators overcame to increase participation from music educators, families, and community organizations and how information was best disseminated to educators, families, and community organizations consistently for the continued growth of the MELC. Data was collected from school districts outside the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. An analysis of MELCs revealed the importance of community engagement, partnerships and collaborations despite the challenges of communication among all stakeholders. The findings suggested that further investigation could explore how MELC ‘s implementation might enhance fine arts programs in rural areas. A deeper understanding of learning communities regarding the different levels of interaction could have a stimulating effect on the design and implementation of future MELC programs.

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