Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2014

Thesis Advisor(s)

Del Siegle

Honors Major

Music Education


Curriculum and Instruction | Music Education


A quality musical ensemble requires the director to be attentive to the needs and abilities of its members. This study examined various aspects of students’ musical and academic preparation in relation to their current experience with music in college. With more insight about the backgrounds of college musicians, and the way those backgrounds relate to their experiences in performing ensembles, music directors will be better able to tailor instruction to the needs of their musicians. For this study, a survey was distributed to members of the University of Connecticut Marching Band about their demographics, education, past musical experiences, and current attitudes toward music and marching. The study found that most participants were majoring in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. However, participants who studied in these areas did not report any greater confidence in learning new formations than did participants in other majors. While a sizable portion of the band comprised music, drama, and art majors, they were concentrated in the woodwind and brass sections, rather than percussion and color guard. The study also found that among the music activities participants completed prior to coming to college, the duration of private music study made a significant difference in students’ acceptance to the traveling pep band, whose members are selected based on their musical ability. The results suggest that individualized instruction is more effective than large group rehearsals for the purposes of developing individual musical ability. They also suggest that college marching bands might consider recruiting in underrepresented majors such as humanities.