Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Cara Bernard

Honors Major

Music Education

Second Honors Major



Art Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Secondary Education and Teaching


The mission of the National Association for Music Education is “to advance music education by promoting the understanding and making of music by all” (NAfME, n.d.-b). Despite these aspirations of equality, research suggests that both demographics and geography have a role in determining who is able to participate and who will choose to participate in school music (Elpus & Abril, 2019; Salvador and Allegood, 2014). This study examined the factors that influence school music participation and the representation of student populations in the music programs of two Connecticut secondary schools. Names of schools and participants have been changed to preserve anonymity. This study utilized a collective case study approach, and participants included four music educators and the principals of the two schools. Data were collected through a document review and semi-structured interviews with each participant. Using a cross-case analysis, data showed that factors at the community, school, and program levels affected access to music classes and student interest in music learning opportunities. The findings suggest that certain teacher and administrator philosophies, policies, and practices are particularly effective in preserving and expanding music programs that serve socioeconomically diverse populations.