Music, School of


First Advisor

Dr. Glenn E. Nierman

Date of this Version



Knight, A. E. (2022). A comparison of Nebraska urban, rural, and reservation schools' readiness to achieve Nebraska state music standards [unpublished master's thesis]. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Music, Major: Music, Under the Supervision of Professor Glenn E. Nierman. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2022

Copyright © 2022 Amber E. Knight


Every person has a unique perspective through which the concept of music education is filtered, and for good reason: music classrooms and programs across the United States are very different. Programs are dissimilar in everything from tangible items, such as facilities and available teaching materials, to foundational frameworks, including curriculum and program philosophy. Local geographical and cultural contexts contribute to the dissimilarity of music programs across the United States, and even those within the same region or state. The purpose of this study was to examine the commonalities and differences in school climate and access to resources among urban, rural, and reservation Nebraska public school districts to determine their readiness to achieve Nebraska State Music Standards. All students deserve a quality, standards-based music education. The research questions focused on teachers’ perceptions of school climate; advantages or disadvantages of staffing and scheduling; and availability of equipment, materials, and curricular resources. The survey tool was developed and updated from the “Survey of Nebraska School Music Programs” (Nierman, 1998). Survey data gathered from a random stratified sample of music educators in Nebraska Class C and D rural schools, socioeconomically diverse urban schools, and reservation settings were analyzed using descriptive research tools, ANOVA tests, and chi-square analysis. Among the findings were indications that urban music educators had the most access to teacher development resources; rural music educators gave a significantly higher appraisal of school climate than reservation music educators; and rural music educators had significantly higher student-to-teacher ratios than urban music educators. This study illuminates some of the challenges and rewards of teaching in underserved districts in Nebraska, which could positively impact the musical growth of Nebraska students, as well as broaden the philosophical perspective of music educators in the state. Finally, this study acknowledges Native American reservation music programs, which have been largely overlooked in educational research.

Advisor: Glenn E. Nierman