Music School Drop Outs Essay

This essay has a total of 1601 words and 8 pages.

Music School Drop Outs

Three of the four highest rated possible reasons for student dropout essentially support
findings of previous research; "loss of interest," "scheduling conflicts," and "lack of
parental support" apparently are perceived as continuing problems with respect to loss of
students in instrumental music programs. However, the reason perceived by directors as the
major contributor to student dropout, student "lack of commitment to work," had not
emerged in previous research. Apparently this psychological variable, which reflects a
strong affective component, dominates the other possible variables, at least from these
directors' perspectives.

Obviously, the 19 reasons included in the questionnaire were not discrete, but the nature
of the data elicited, which is essentially descriptive, does not allow for examination of
relations among the variables or for any cause-and-effect analyses among them. However,
"lack of parental support" may be a contributing factor to "lack of commitment to work."
Whether "loss of interest" contributes to, or is a result of, "lack of commitment to work"
is unclear.

Three possible reasons for which responses in the present study seem to substantiate
previous research were "scheduling conflicts," "competing interest in sports," and "too
little time." Both scheduling conflicts and interest in sports were among the highest
rated reasons for student dropout both in previous research and in the present study. "Too
little time," a mid-level concern in research cited by Deurksen (1972) and a high-level
concern in Brown's (1985) study, was a mid-level concern for the respondents in this
study. A reason for which the present data differed greatly from previous research,
however, was "after school jobs," which directors did not consider a reason for student
dropout. Perhaps the present study's concern with middle and junior high school dropouts,
in contrast to previous research which also concerned senior high school dropouts, would
account for this difference.

The rankings of several reasons by the directors also revealed quite different perceptions
than some previous research which included students' views. For example, other studies
have shown that, for students, "fear of failure" is perceived as a major contributing
factor to dropouts, but the directors in the present study did not view this as a major

"Lack of communication with and encouragement from the senior high school" was not
considered as major a problem in this study as in Solly's (1986) study, but it was still
viewed as a problem, as indicated by its ranking in the upper half of the list.
Apparently, the lack of communication and encouragement from senior high school band
directors is a continuing problem. Perhaps better articulation between middle/junior and
senior high school programs could alleviate some of the dropout problem.

Cost associated with participation in instrumental music is viewed as a mid-level concern
in both the present study and in Brown's (1985) study, although in an earlier study
reported by Duersken (1972) it was not a problem.

"Lack of musical ability" and "lack of success on instrument" apparently are viewed as
contributing reasons for dropout. The similarity of the mean ratings for these two reasons
(2.32 and 2.18) raises questions regarding whether there might be a relationship between
the two variables.

Two reasons rated just below the median rating for the 19 reasons were "lack of time for
individual needs" and "band classes too big." Most schools in the three counties surveyed
provide beginning instrumental music instruction in band classes, and it was surprising to
the investigators that these reasons were not rated more highly.

Neither "students reactions to the director/teacher" nor "student dislike of band music"
were rated as major contributors to student dropout. Apparently these affective, yet
situation-specific, variables were viewed as much less of a concern than the highest rated
reason, "lack of commitment to work." The latter, which apparently was perceived
more-or-less as a "trait" of today's middle/junior high school students, is viewed as
overriding the variables related to the instructor and the music.

Other variables which were considered of minor importance by the directors surveyed were
"peer pressure," "performance pressure," and "lack of recognition for accomplishments."
Perhaps performance pressures is more a senior high school problem, and peer pressure and
lack of recognition simply do not appear to be problems from the directors' perspectives.

Directors' ratings of the impact of the other variables that might have possible
deleterious effects on student participation and the overall success of their programs did
not reveal any surprising or overriding concerns. As might be expected, "lack of adequate
financial support" was the highest rated concern. As the costs of instrumental music
programs continue to increase, and when most instrumental music teachers are necessarily
involved in fundraising to help support their programs, this is a major concern.

The second highest rated concern, "socioeconomic level of student population," perhaps
reflects the sample bias, three large urban school districts, all of which have
significant proportions of inner city areas. This finding is consistent with previous
research by Klinedinst (1989).

The highest rated concern, "lack of support for band program from schedule makers," tends
to corroborate the high rating of scheduling conflicts as a reason for student dropout.
Also, two of the three counties surveyed are limited to a six-period school day, which
compounds the scheduling of non-required courses such as band.

Variables related to classroom management, lack of overall administrative support, and
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