Title page for ETD etd-11182010-161021

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Strickland, Kathryn Elizabeth
URN etd-11182010-161021
Title Why They Stay and Why They Go: A Study of Retention and Attrition During the Transition from Middle to High School in the Large-Ensemble Instrumental Music Classroom
Degree Master of Music (M.M.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Byo, James L. Committee Chair
Bartolome, Sarah J. Committee Member
Cassidy, Jane W. Committee Member
  • attribution theory
  • locus of control
  • instrumental music
  • band
  • attrition
  • retention
Date of Defense 2010-11-01
Availability unrestricted
In this qualitative study, I investigated factors related to three eighth grade instrumental music studentsí long-term commitment to school band. Each student represented a different category of intention: one was committed to being a band member long-term, one was not, and one was unsure. Framing the study were perceptions of character, personality, attitudes, and motivations in the context of pending decisions to continue or discontinue participation. More broadly, locus of control and characteristics from attribution theory were examined.

Interviews, observations and questionnaire results revealed that locus and attribution style each bear on studentsí inclinations to remain in band. All students, regardless of intentions to continue, expressed the majority of attributions in the category of effort; the student committed to not continuing was found to have a strongly external locus; and both the student committed to continuing and the student who was unsure were found to be internals. It was found that all participants expressed a desire to be more challenged in the instrumental music classroom and this need affected their motivation to participate. In addition, the more external participant required greater opportunities for performance, which would lead to positive attention from influential others.

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