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This grounded theory was generated from interviews with eighteen middle level music educators with the goal of uncovering the values and beliefs that support those teaching strategies which foster student growth and learning in music education. The eighteen middle level music educators were chosen by purposeful sampling using peer recommendation. The informants were teachers in the states of Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. Their teaching experiences at the middle level included work with student populations in public schools, private schools and Native American reservation schools. Both vocal and instrumental music educators were interviewed. These interviews were transcribed by the researcher and analyzed with the aid of the computer program QSR NUD•1ST™ (Nonnumerical, Unstructured Data Indexing, Searching and Theory-building). The data from these interviews, together with observations and related artifacts, were used to develop a grounded theory about the values and beliefs that shape the teaching strategies of middle level music educators. The data analysis revealed the belief statements that support the teaching strategies employed by effective middle level music educators. First and foremost, they valued music and music education. They felt that teaching music to middle level students is important work. They valued their students, and they believed that all children must have music in their lives and that all children must be taught the skills that will enable them to listen to, understand, perform, move to and create a wide variety of musical styles and genres. The grounded theory model developed in this study delineated these values and beliefs in four levels of connectedness to the central belief systems of the informants. Practical applications of this grounded theory are suggested for preservice and inservice teacher training. Guidelines are also suggested for administrators wishing to hire effective middle level music educators.