School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Thomas Goddard


Music Education, Percussion Education, Percussion




The purpose of this qualitative ethnographic study is to determine the effects and influences of percussion ensemble literature in underprivileged secondary schools in the Appalachian region of eastern Kentucky. This study was conducted within the framework of psychologist Yuri Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory of development. The aim was to research the importance of percussion pedagogy on the global musical knowledge and cultural understandings of high school music students and their communities from underprivileged schools in eastern Kentucky. The study sought to determine how percussion students, non-percussion students, and non-music students conceptualized these diverse and modern pieces of percussion literature. The study also sought to determine the frequency at which music educators from eastern Kentucky program music from cultures outside of the traditional Western classical canon, or program pieces by underrepresented composers. Additionally, this study sought to determine the level of authenticity when teaching global instruments, and the depth of discussion when performing musical styles from other parts of the world. Finally, there was an emphasis placed on determining how well students from eastern Kentucky related to pieces that were representative of or composed by traditionally underrepresented groups. The study included percussion students, non-percussion students, and non-music students from a multi-county area of eastern Kentucky. To determine this information, a series of focus groups were conducted with the stakeholders. The findings revealed that exposure to the study of percussion literature and percussion instruments drastically influences students’ worldviews and conceptualization of global cultures and styles.

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