Week 5 blog

This is not what I want it to be yet, but we need to start somewhere.  I latched on this train of thought about a month before this class started, but I feel really good about its relevance to my work life, potential for my academic career, and long-term interest.

Blog for Week 5

What do you know about your phenomenon of interest?

Leadership has been studied quite frequently outside of music, especially in the business arena.  Studies like Logue et al. (2005) examine the impact of leadership on the collegiate experience in an attempt to broaden the learning experience and further develop interpersonal skills.

Leadership in the music ensemble can enhance the offerings of the ensemble (Hendricks, 2012).

Although there has been much research done in the area of leadership development in college age students as a portion of their development as leaders in the business world, there is much work to be done on where leadership skills develop in high school age children, or even earlier (Dempster, 2007).

Theoretical frameworks exist to describe and breakdown the evolution of leadership as a construct over the course of a life span (Komives and Dugan, 2014, p. 817).

What are some of the interesting things that you have learned from specific articles you have read thus far?

The definition of leadership is transitioning from a fixed, inherent attribute (Burns, 1978) to a facet of identity that can develop over the lifespan and can be encouraged and grown (Komives and Dugan, 2014).  Modern definitions of leadership are inclusive of the changing perception of leadership as children grow and develop more encompassing worldviews.  Simply put, leaders start as empowered others (e.g. teachers in a classroom) and evolve to more informal, personal structures (taking an informal leadership role in a professional work group up through being a CEO).


From what theoretical perspective(s) have other scholars (in and out of music) studied some aspect of this phenomenon, and why have they justified that stance?

Melton (2012) has taken a phenomenological stance in examining the power structures of leadership in band programs in relation to bullying.

Komives, et al., (2006) used grounded theory to develop a description of a six-stage process of the growth of the role of leadership identity and the definition of that concept (p. 807).


Burns, J. (1978). Leadership.  New York, NT:  Harper and Row.

Dempster, N., and Lizzio, A., (2007). Student leadership: Necessary research. Australian

                Journal of Education, 51(3), 276-285. doi:10.1177/00494410705100305

Hendricks, K. S., Roesler, R. A., Chaffee, C. C. and Glawe, J. (2012).  Orchestra student

leadership: Developing motivation, trust, and musicianship.  American String

          Teacher, 62(3), 36-40.

Komives, S., Longerbeam, S., Mainella, F., & Osteen, L.  (2006).  A leadership identity

development model:  Applications from a grounded theory.  Journal of college

          Student Development, 47, 401-doi:https://dooi.org/10.1353/csd.2006.0048

Komives, S. & Dugan, J. (2014). Student leadership development:  Theory, research, and

practice.  In D. Day (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Leadership and Organizations.

Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199755615.013.039

Logue, C., Hutchens, T. A., Hector, M. A. (2005). Student leadership: A phenomenological

exploration of postsecondary experiences. Journal of College Student Development,

          46(4), 393-408. doi:10.1353/csd.2005.0039

Melton, C. (2012).  Facing the music: Student power relations in student leadership within

          high school band programs (Doctoral dissertation). ProQuest Dissertation and

Theses. (UMI No. 3553658).


-What do you mean exactly by “impacted?”  We can have an “impact” on someone in just about any way.  I recommend more specificity regarding what kind of impact you’re talking about, because this will help you narrow your focus.  Perhaps you could start by unpacking further what O’Neill means by “positive development” and “musical flourishing,” as I believe this is where you believe you’re examining “impact.”  What kind of development?  What do you mean by flourishing?  Be able to give some concrete examples that really fully define these ideas.  You’ll want to use O’Neill’s words (think concept organizer here) to define what she means by flourishing, engagement, and even “positive.”
Impact:  I mean this word in two ways.  First there is the social impact of being a student leader in an ensemble.  Growth will occur, along with investment in the future of the ensemble, in a different vein under this paradigm.  The second way would be in the musical sense.  Students as leaders need to be more prepared than their peers either out of an intrinsic motivation that leads them to be ready to lead by example or through the act of helping others develop their own musicianship through learning music or by working on their peers motivation for being a member of the ensemble.
For the dissertation, I am interested in what the student takes away from the experience of being engaged in music making/performance. Teachers see their role in creating a musical experience for student that will engage and enrich the lives of their students, but what do the students take away from that experience?  In what ways are they changed?  Do their musical skills grow?  Does their world view change after interacting with other students in a musical way?  In a leadership capacity?  What do they take into the world, which may be predominantly non-musical for them, that they collected during their time in band?

Form of a question

O’Neill espouse generativity and flourishing in a musical environment, but the environment is created by other factors.  Belongingness (Baumgardner) plays a role fostering a setting that allows older children to experiment with new musical ideas and skills.

The bottom third of the triangle on p. 73 of Bartel’s article on early childhood education is very relevant to the musical education of older school age children.  The qualities outlined there “sense of community, opportunity, self-efficacy, and psycho-social context” all contribute to the environment that allows TME to work.

What do high school aged kids see of this from their perspective and how does it shape their music experience?  Which of these elements are important to them and help shape their participation and musical development.  What role do student leaders play in shaping this environment and how are they shaped by it?

Questions for thought

-What do you mean exactly by “impacted?”  We can have an “impact” on someone in just about any way.  I recommend more specificity regarding what kind of impact you’re talking about, because this will help you narrow your focus.  Perhaps you could start by unpacking further what O’Neill means by “positive development” and “musical flourishing,” as I believe this is where you believe you’re examining “impact.”  What kind of development?  What do you mean by flourishing?  Be able to give some concrete examples that really fully define these ideas.

Impacted is a word that has broad ramifications in relation to student growth.  I am interested in the impact that the learning environment has on student learning and participation in an ensemble.  As an elective, students can choose to continue their participation in that group.  Many students do not choose to continue music learning or formal music engagement after their high school years, so what factors related to the classroom culture and environment lend themselves to helping encourage kids to remain enrolled in a  music ensemble?

TME research question

TME helps to examine how learners are situated in an environment where many threads or facets of their lives intertwine to produce a complex and multi layered learning environment.

How does this apply to band or marching band?

How do section leaders see their impact on the band program and in what ways does the band program impact them, musically or otherwise?

For high school section leaders, band has already played a big role in their lives (they are returning as student leaders after at least two years of participation).  Yet in the final years band will continue to have in impact on them and they will pass on traditions, values, and “band culture” to underclassmen.  Using TME to examine this “give and take” paradigm at this point in their band career could effectively illuminate what elements of music study transform kids into young adults and leaders, competent musicians, and functioning adults or as O’Neill puts it “affords music-learning opportunities that foster positive development and musical flourishing” (O’Neill, 2015, p. 612).

Day One

This will serve as my Blog away from Boston until class starts up again.

I am writing to try to determine my dissertation topic via research questions and perspectives.

I am interested in skills/traits/ or qualities that students take away from their high school band experience.  I suspect that they may not always be musical in nature, and more importantly, they may be more important to the student than any musical learning they may accrue during their time in HS.

O’Neill touches on several of these ideas in her 2015 article “Transformative Music engagement and musical flourishing”.  Transformative Music engagement (TME) serves an orientation to research.  It serves to:

  • help understand youth perspectives on what initiates and sustains their involvement in music activities (p. 606)
  • Generativity
  • positive youth development
  • growth and transformation over “banking”
  • address the potential of learners
  • help youth develop a sense of place (p. 607)

In total, O’Neill has tried to develop a “sense of coherence” (p. 607) that ties TME and musical flourishing together.  Ideas of diversity, generativity, and youth as musical resource (to be developed, not fixed)

As a theoretical framework, TME focuses on

  • fostering agentive learning ecologies
  • integrating actions or dialogical encounter in multiple learning spaces
  • aligns learnercentered approaches to enhance young musicians’ strengths and potential for music engagement.

TOUCHSTONE!!!! TME recognizes the need for establishing partnerships and interactive links between researchers, practioners, educators, and learners in order to increase understanding of youth perspective.

Music learners should be active participators in their construction of knowledge through meaningful participation (p. 610).

RESEARCH QUESTION???  We need a better understanding of the multiple pathways through which youth are actively engaged in music learning in ways that foster meaningful, positive, and enduring transformation if we are to challenge narrow conception and optimize music learning in generalized education.

How do we understand what meaning students derive from their participation in band (marching band)?  What do student take away from that experience and how do they construct that knowledge?

How can the use of TME perspective in the observation of the culture of marching band help researchers and students see the “threads” that connect their involvement with other aspects of their life (present and future).

How does a student’s level of engagement effect their interest in band participation?