University Students’ Reflections on School Music

Diane Stjern,
North Dakota State University

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Abstract: Many factors contribute to student attrition in school music programs. This article explores the factors most true to a group of sixty-seven university students’ as they reflect on their involvement in music throughout middle and high school. Individuals who indicated they stopped participating in their school’s music program were surveyed further to reveal their individual reasoning. The results were compared with previous research to illustrate the current factors causing student attrition in school music programs, and implications for music educators are also discussed.

Introduction A well-established goal of educators is to enrich students’ lives by providing the highest quality education possible within each content area. Music educators are no exception. However, because music classes such as band, choir, and orchestra are beyond the general music curriculum and are not required for students to graduate, some music educators struggle to keep students in their programs. Several factors causing student attrition within school music programs have been identified within the research as holding true across many different populations. Before discussing these factors, what importance does music education have within students’ lives?

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