The Meaning of the Music Education Experience to Middle School General Music Students

by Wayman, Virginia Elaine.

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this study was to investigate the meaning of music education to middle school students in general music classrooms. Specifically, this study addresses the following questions: 1. What meaning do middle school general music students derive from their musical education? 2. Do underlying dimensions exist in this meaning? If these dimensions do exist, what are they and what relationships exist among them? To answer these questions, a two-part study was proposed. In part one, a survey instrument was created by gathering middle school students’ responses to an open-ended question. The 178 participants generated 670 responses. These responses were analyzed and then reduced to 147 relatively distinct statements of meaning. Responses were analyzed qualitatively by grouping the items with others that appeared similar. In the second part of the study, student responses were used to construct a survey, called the Music Meaning Survey (MMS). The survey was first piloted in Tucson, Arizona with a sample of students (N = 96), in order to test the clarity and usability of the MMS. The results of the pilot survey were factor analyzed using principal components analysis and a varimax rotation. The factor analysis confirmed the existence of five factor categories: Psychological, Future Music Goals, Academic-Musical, Performing/Music Making and Integrative (social). 13 A total of 50 statements of meaning were used for the final version of the Music Meaning Survey. The MMS was then administered during the spring of 2005. According to the MMS, subjects did ascribe particular meaning to music education. In particular, it was found that the meaning students derived from their music education experience could be assimilated into four categories: Vocational (career-oriented outcomes for learning about music), Academic (academic aspects of music class such as reading music, learning about composers, and musical styles), Belongingness (social interactions between individual students and groups of students), and Agency (related to students’ self-esteem, motivation, and emotional development). The primary conclusion that can be drawn from this study is that for middle school students, music class can be a meaningful and multifaceted experience. 14
Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Arizona

School Location:USA - Arizona

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:

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