Arts Education and New York City
High School Graduation Rates

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Middle/Junior High School Band Directors' Views Regarding Reasons For Student Dropouts In Instrumental Music


Some wonderful research from the University of Miami.


Hi Russ,

For some odd reason I can't manage to open this Student Dropout research.


Should open fine if you have microsoft word.


The study examined middle/junior high school band directors' views regarding reasons for students dropping out of instrumental music. Fifty band directors responded to a survey instrument that was sent to public middle/junior high schools in Broward, Dade, and Palm Beach counties.

Some results were consistent with frequently cited "reasons" from previous research; loss of interest, scheduling conflicts, lack of parental support, and competing interests in sports were among the highest rated reasons for student dropout from instrumental music study. However, student "lack of commitment to work" was the most highly rated reason for student dropout.


Thanks Russ for providing me with this information. I was able to open it and read it.

In the Abstract I zeroed in on the "lack of commitment to work." Surely over the years I taught this was always in my awareness and I tried whatever I came upon to figure out  ways to motivate the student to work.

I found that the most effective way was to find a way to get the student to look at his/her "internal world." Usually this was possible in the beginning stages after the newness of having a horn to play had worn off. I would talk to the student in an individual setting and ask them simple questions like " In your head , do you  see yourself as playing the__________ instrument." If the answer was yes, I would ask them if what they were doing by way of practice was likely to improve their playing. Most could easily see the answer was no. This would lead to exploring what they thought

would allow for them to improve. I would be careful to not let them merely parrot back what they had heard over the years ie "30 min a day practice or some even greater time frame." The object was to get them to define what they thought would improve their playing, make that the plan, and hold them to it no matter what. No excuses of any kind.

Variations of how I would handle the situation always came back to staying with the child generated plan and holding them to it. The central idea was that learning the horn is for them not the parent, not the school,and not the teacher. We all do our part in the process otherwise we're kidding each other about what we are doing and no parent, no school, and no teacher has unlimited resourses to spend on non accomplishment. I would say that most of the kids get this approach and become learners or they can see more easily that learning the horn is not for them and they ought to spend their time elsewhere. If parting from the program is in order , it is done with mutual respect and with a clear understand that if you want to come back you can, but they are aware of what is expected. Integrity of all parties is respected.



Don Hofmeister




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