Degree Name

M.Ed. (Master of Education)


Curriculum and Instruction

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Lori Meier

Committee Members

Laura Robertson, Ryan Nivens, Lauren Ramey


Music participation, specifically in an ensemble setting, is known to promote learning and social skills and to contribute to a well-rounded overall education. With this in mind, this qualitative, constructivist grounded theory study explored the impacts that participating in chorus, band, or orchestra has on students’ overall experience in middle school, with a focus on joy and identity development. The researcher interviewed fifteen students about their personal experiences and feelings about their lives as middle schoolers and musicians. The findings, shared in six theoretical concepts tied to the research question, reveal important facets of these students’ experiences that shed light on the value of music education and ensemble opportunities at the middle school level. The discourse shared by the participants communicates to educators and other stakeholders how critical music is to their individual and school lives, and how different the experience might be without it.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.