LMEA Research Session 2023 – Abstracts

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19        10:00 am

Eden Brown (Louisiana State University).  Beyond identifying barriers: An autoethnographic study on bringing piano education to an underrepresented community

Research suggests low socioeconomic status to be a significant barrier to child participation in extracurricular activities. Black families are disproportionally represented in the U.S. population living below the poverty line; Black children tend to participate in extracurriculars less frequently than their peers (Kuhn et al., 2021). Piano study is amongst the least accessible activities, requiring students to have access to a practice instrument and pay high rates for private lessons. While some educators have attempted to mitigate this financial barrier by offering scholarships and loaner instruments, Black children remain underrepresented in piano studios across the country (Duke et al., 1997). While the American style of piano teaching is deeply rooted in Western art music tradition, many traditional beginner piano curricula fail to acknowledge and amplify the cultural experiences, traditions and priorities of Black children, and thus are not engaging for many Black students. In order to recruit and retain more Black students, educators are encouraged to create programs that, in addition to addressing financial barriers, provide a culturally relevant curriculum. In this autoethnographic inquiry, the author reflects on their own lived experience as a Black pianist to help identify and mitigate barriers to accessing piano education. Their story offers a fresh perspective on the journey of gaining insider status in a community, addressing logistical and recruitment challenges, and adopting a relevant and engaging, culturally specific curriculum to launch a free piano program in a low-income Baton Rouge neighborhood.

Joseph Casselberry (Louisiana State University).  Balance or Harmony?  Building Resilience and Navigating the Work-Nonwork Interface through Recovery Experience

Stressors and symptoms of burnout in music teachers are well documented, but suggestions for prevention and remediation often focus on organizational level factors outside of the teacher’s control. To address this issue, I turn to the occupational health psychology literature, where researchers have investigated the interface between our work and nonwork roles, and the importance of maintaining personal resources. Recovery from work relies on harnessing effective non-teaching experiences which lead to detachment, relaxation, mastery, control, and social connection. Effective recovery, in turn, can lead to resiliency against the stressors faced at school and in the music classroom. Recommendations for approaching individualized recovery experiences are presented, along with examples of how these practices might function in a music teacher’s life.

Dr. Amy Catron (Mississippi State University).  Negotiating Community Music Facilitator Positionalities

Community music practices tend to operate on the notion of fostering belonging, unity, and shared experiences (Veblen, 2007). Community music practices are often positively portrayed as encouraging individual fulfillment and societal betterment through inclusive, accessible, and democratically equitable practices. However, participatory culture may validate only some ways of musicking, perpetuating exclusion (Small, 1996; Wright, 2018). 

Focusing on exploring my role as a classically trained facilitator in the Intergenerational Community Music Ensemble (ICME), I will examine how Bourdieu’s (1984, 1986, 1990) concept of habitus may clarify how I straddle tensions between my background, classical training, and my efforts to embody community music ideals. Habitus (Bourdieu, 1984; Reay, 2010) operates subconsciously unless a disjuncture challenges components of identity, relationships, or orientations within the field.  I intend to help students find their own voices, but unsurprisingly, much of my habitus as a classical musician is reproductive (Sagiv & Hall, 2015). Using habitus as a lens helps me translate my external narrative and my internal dialogue’s interaction with my perception of the external world. 

Dialogical learning can disrupt positional status, enabling shared or developed pedagogic authority. Listening to participants and my sometimes-dissonant inner voices as healthy dialogue towards creating democratic learning spaces promotes curiosity about, compassion for, and connection with my community musicking partners. This may produce attitudes of caring and sharing, openness, and vulnerability which could increase mutual respect, reciprocally enhance love of music, and enrich social partnerships.

Sarah Jenkins (Louisiana State University).  Teaching Outside the Traditions: An autoethnographic study on teaching collegiate group piano in an HBCU undergraduate music program

Students beginning undergraduate degree programs are expected to enter as freshmen with prior knowledge and skill sets in their academic area. For example, the majority of students majoring in English are expected to be able to speak, aurally comprehend, and understand symbolic notation of the language, while also be able to reproduce it through various mediums before beginning the degree program.

Similarly, undergraduate music admission requirements, curricula, and subsequent instruction methods are built upon the assumption that incoming students have a foundational knowledge of music, being able to read, write, and talk about it. These expectations rely on participation in long-established and Western, classical-tradition standards and programs. However, studies show music learning happens in a variety of forms with a wide range of cultural significance and values. Traditional undergraduate music programs limit those who are part of musical communities and programs not based in Western art forms. To mitigate these limitations in non-traditional music programs, the author suggests collegiate instruction be flexible and adaptive to the students’ skill sets, backgrounds, and values.

In this autoethnographic study, the author investigates and reflects on her collegiate group piano teaching practices while questioning her own expectations and biases as a former student of large state schools with traditional music programs. The author provides an outsider’s perspective of non-traditional music learning and a first-hand account of adapting the collegiate group piano curriculum to meet student needs in their first semester of class piano.

Veronica Perez (Louisiana State University).  Effects of music instruction on 3-4-year-old children in cognitive development and spatial skills

The impact of music instruction on child cognitive development has been a research topic for many years. The focus of the present study is to investigate the positive effects of music instruction on the spatial skills of preschool children. The students will be drawn from a private school with music instructions weekly. Participants in the study will consist of 68 three- to four-year-old students in a private school in South Louisiana. Of the 68 participants, 27 will be randomly assigned to receive a “Movement” song treatment, and the other 28 will be randomly assigned to the control group and will receive traditional, whole-class music instruction. Preschoolers in the experimental group will meet on Tuesday and Thursday for thirty minutes for a “movement music class” period of twelve [DS1] consecutive weeks while the control group will meet for regular music instruction. Participants will complete the Audie test and test of Spatial Ability (TOSA) to examine executive functions. Through a pre-posttest control and experimental group design, this study will analyze quantitative data.

Dr. Jennifer Pulling (Northwestern State University), Elizabeth Gibbs, (Independent Researcher), Abby South (Louisiana State University).  Establishing Self Care: An Examination of First and Second Stage Music Teachers’ Health and Wellness Practices

Health and wellness practices of American society have been an emerging point of interest for researchers and the general population in recent decades. Topics related to health and wellness of both undergraduate music majors and in-service music teachers have a developing presence in the literature (Altenmüller, 2016; Kuebel, 2019; Payne, Lewis & McCaskill, 2020). For the new teacher, adjusting to the lifestyle and demands of the profession can be incredibly difficult to the extent that many new teachers experience praxis shock, burn out, or leave the field entirely (Ballantyne & Retell, 2022; Conway, 2020; Stern & Cox, 1993). The crucial first years of teaching are seemingly the most impactful. The purpose of this study is to explore the health and wellness practices of first and second stage music teachers as they navigate their entry into the profession.

This is a phenomenological mixed-methods study. Participants (n = 50) are in-service music teachers of varying content areas (elementary, band, choir, orchestra) who have one to ten years of teaching experience effectively representing teacher career cycle stages promoted by Huberman (1993) and Eros (2013): (a) First Stage—one to three years and (b) Second Stage— four to ten years. Data will be collected through a self-assessment questionnaire. Separately, a purposeful sampling of the participants (n = 10) will each take part in an audio-recorded interview examining their lived health and wellness experiences. Findings may provide insight and inform best practices on self-care for early career music teachers.

Dr. Amanda L. Schlegel (University of South Carolina), Bruno Alcalde (University of South Carolina).  Influence of familiarity, personality, musical preferences, and age on listeners’ continuous enjoyment ratings during live performances of new art music

Music is a ubiquitous experience for people and formal and informal opportunities to participate in creating, performing, responding, and connecting are available across the lifespan. Variables influencing the choice to engage in multiple artistic processes and even choices regarding music concert attendance, genre and timbre preferences, and varying performance activities are moderated by several individual characteristics including familiarity (Schubert, Hargreaves, and North, 2014; Teo, Hargreaves, and Lee, 2008) personality (Bonneville-Roussy et al, 2013; Rentfrow and Gosling, 2003), social factors and situations (Bonneville-Roussy and Rust, 2018) and age (Bonneville-Roussy et al, 2017; LeBlanc et al, 1996). These personal and external factors likely may intersect with the internal surface features of the music (Bonneville-Roussy et al, 2017). How do these external and internal factors influence listeners’ enjoyment of unfamiliar music, particularly during live performances and unique social and situational factors are present? The purpose of this study if internal (musical) and external (listeners/situational/social) factors influence listeners’ enjoyment ratings collected continuously (1Hz) during live concerts of new art music. Participants (N = 10–16) attended two concerts presented on campus at a large university in the southeastern region of the United States. These concerts will be held in February and April 2023 and are part of a series focused on new, contemporary classical music. Some participants regularly attend these concerts, as determined through their subscription to the series. Other participants were specifically selected because they had never attended any concert in this new music series. These familiar (regularly attending this contemporary music concert series) and unfamiliar (new attendees to the contemporary music concert series) used Perception Analyzer dials to continuously rate their enjoyment during each concert, responding to a scale of 0 (hate) to 100 (love) to indicate their enjoyment across each piece in the concert.  Participants completed a ten-item personality inventory measuring the Big Five dimensions (Gosling, Rentfrow, and Swann, 2003), the Ollen Musical Sophistication Index (OMSI), and the Short Test of Music Preferences (STOMP-R). Participations also provide details about their musical activity and several personal data points. Data analysis will be complete by November 2023.

Christopher Song (Louisiana State University), Dr. David Saccardi (Louisiana State University).  Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Peer Instruction and Student Leadership Training in a University Marching Band

Student leadership experiences at the university level and the effects of peer-assisted learning in music learning environments will be examined in the present study to more precisely understand how student leadership programs enhance the musical, cultural, and social experience of collegiate marching bands. The purpose of this study will be to examine the experiences of band directors, student leaders, and band members regarding their perceptions of student leadership and its function in a collegiate marching band. The primary research question is: What are the perceptions of band directors, student leaders, and band members’ experiences of the effectiveness of student leadership within a marching band? Secondary research questions include: (1) How are student leaders educated and prepared for their positions, (2) How do members perceive the effectiveness of leadership from their peers in student leadership roles, and (3) What benefit does the student leadership serve in the function of a collegiate marching band? 

Christopher Song (Louisiana State University). Preserving the Historic and Cultural Music of Louisiana Through School Music: An Ethnographic Case Study

The purpose of this ethnographic multiple case study will be to examine the lives of teachers, students, community members, and culture bearers within musical communities in two specific regions of Louisiana. Participants’ intrinsic cultural meanings of Louisiana’s music and impact on school music programs will be examined through ethnographic interview and observation. The geographic areas of focus of this research are Lafayette, LA, the heart of Créole and Cajun country where Zydeco music finds its origins, and New Orleans, LA, the birthplace of traditional jazz and brass band music. Research questions include: (1) How do music teachers incorporate traditional cultural music into their school music curriculum?, (2) How do music students describe their experiences learning about and performing traditional cultural music?, and (3) What role do community members and culture-bearers play in transmitting knowledge of traditional cultural music?

Abby South (Louisiana State University), Dr. Sarah Bartolome (Northwestern University).  Implementation of Trauma Informed Practices at an After School Music Program for Children

While trauma-informed practices represent an emerging area of scholarly interest in education broadly, minimal empirical research has investigated the implementation of these approaches within music classrooms. The purpose of this study was to document the implementation of trauma-informed approaches in an afterschool music program for children that serves low socioeconomic students in a southern metropolitan area. The organization’s Educational Content Specialist and an outside research consultant led four hours of professional development on trauma-informed approaches, conducted observations of regularly scheduled educational programming (30 hours), and interviewed teachers, staff, and administrators (n = 16) who participated in the training. This program evaluation study investigated the staff’s perceptions of how trauma-informed training influenced their work as music educators. Emergent themes included shifts in teacher attitude regarding behavior management, increased teacher awareness of individual student needs, a desire for more collaboration amongst staff, and acknowledgment of the intrinsic connection between pedagogically sound music teaching and trauma-informed instruction. Findings influenced the organization to make the following changes: Formalize trauma-informed approaches during downtime (snack, homework, and transition periods); adopt social and emotional learning initiatives at all school sites; create additional opportunities for collaboration for staff and students; increase future trauma-informed professional development opportunities for staff; and establish a service-learning partnership with a local university to increase the number of caring adults present at programming.  This study provides an initial foray into a line of inquiry that ultimately seeks to establish a large body of empirical research on the use of trauma-informed approaches in music classrooms.

Dr. Kenna Veronee (University of Louisiana Monroe).  An Investigation of Preservice Teacher Self-Efficacy

The investigation of preservice teacher self-efficacy is not only imperative for the field of teacher education, but also for the continued development of teacher education curricula and programs. “It is important that college and university methods classes be structured to address students’ teaching concerns and to develop students’ competence and confidence as music teachers” (Hamann & Ebie, 2009, p. 50).  The current study is one in a series of studies that follows preservice teachers throughout the teacher education experience.  

The purpose of the present study was to investigate preservice music teachers’ perceptions of self-efficacy regarding 32 effective teaching behaviors.  The study was guided by the following research questions: 1) With what behaviors did music education students report the highest and lowest self-efficacy ratings?  2) Were there any behaviors that did not receive increased self-efficacy ratings over the four years of experience?  3) Was there a significant difference between years of experience and preservice teachers’ self-efficacy ratings of effective teaching behaviors?  Participants (N = 25) were first (n1 = 12), second (n2 = 4), third (n3 = 4), and fourth year (n4 = 5) music education majors at a midsized south-central university.  Participants were asked to rate their “level of confidence” in their ability to effectively demonstrate 32 music teaching skills and behaviors on a 10-point scale Likert-type scale.  Results will be discussed at the poster session.