Semester of Graduation

May 2021

Degree

Master of Music (MM)

Department

Music Education

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The purpose of this case study is to examine the experience of female secondary band directors in southeastern Louisiana. Six female band directors in Louisiana were interviewed using video-conferencing. Of the six, four were middle school directors and two were high school directors. The semi-structured interviews took place in three phases: 1) musical influences and experiences from birth through college, 2) early teaching experience, and 3) current teaching experience. Data analysis included four phases of coding; open, axial, closed, and selective. Coding uncovered multiple themes in the findings. Themes were categorized as the following: (1) Becoming a Band Director, (2) Work-Life Balance, (3) Female, (4) Buy-In, (5) Process versus Product, (6) Collaboration, (7) Motivation, and (8) Louisiana and 2020. Family support and inspirational teachers played an enormous role on participants’ decisions to pursue band directing. Participants communicated the fickle dance of balancing professional and personal lives, They shared stories of challenges that come with being a female band director; however, they discussed multiple factors that made their experiences successful. Buy-in from students, parents, administration, and the community was deemed necessary. Participants prioritized student’s overall band experience. Providing the best band experience for students was rooted in collaboration with peers, an unspoken Louisiana principle. Challenges of living and teaching in Louisiana paired with the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic did not stop participants from conducting their passions. The end-all-be-all for participants was not the trophies and superior ratings from concert assessments, that was the lagniappe. Participants thoroughly described the significance of continuous learning through music.

Committee Chair

Bowers, Jason P.

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