School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Thomas Goddard


modern band, popular music ensemble, enrollment, retention




Despite the numerous research studies promoting popular music education, many school districts need to implement an ensemble that teaches popular music. On average, only 24 percent of high school students participate in an ensemble throughout their high school careers, and music educators are trying to address this through modern bands. This qualitative, postpositivist, existential-phenomenological study identifies how the implication of modern bands can increase and retain music enrollment in secondary schools and analyzes the effects on other traditional instrumental and vocal ensemble enrollments. This study examined secondary music directors’ perceptions of the impact of modern bands on traditional ensembles. To ascertain how modern bands can help increase enrollment and learn the effect on traditional ensembles, music educators with modern band programs from across the United States provided their perspectives through a qualitative survey. Additionally, music teachers were encouraged to discuss their views on how modern band affects traditional ensembles. The results of this study show that popular music may help increase enrollment in music programs without adversely impacting traditional ensembles. This research study will help music educators and district administrators understand the leverage modern band must increase music ensemble enrollment and its relationship with traditional ensembles. In addition, this research study could encourage more school districts to adopt popular music education to reach students that may have otherwise eluded the music program.

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