Music, School of


Date of this Version

Spring 4-22-2011


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Music, Under the Supervision of Professor Robert H. Woody. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2011
Copyright 2011 Phillip K. Hesterman


The purpose of this study was to examine kinds of professional growth activities employed by music teachers in Nebraska schools.

A survey was administered to Nebraska K-12 music educators (N = 1,144), with 456 responding. Data gathered related to respondents’ past professional growth participation, projected involvement, opinions and preferences, and information concerning perceived barriers.

A review of literature focused on factors related to professional growth. This review provided insights into professional growth practiced by music educators. Literature reviewed reflected perspectives on meaning of professional growth for educators.

Findings yielded insight into the state of professional development among Nebraska music educators. Continuing education and local in-services were commonly reported choices. Lack of money and time were frequently mentioned as barriers to professional growth. Continuing education and professional conferences were preferred, although their nature is short-term. Teachers with less teaching experience had greater tendency to pursue professional growth than veterans. Results indicated no statistically significant difference in likelihood of participation by gender, highest degree held, grades taught, teaching certification area, or location. Short-term professional growth opportunities are sought, although long-term activities have a longer-lasting impact.

Study results indicate music educators face issues confronting their professional development. Issues include frequent changes in technology, availability of funding, and shifting student demographics. The viability of music education in the public’s perspective and the idea that professional development is optional are additional challenges. Relevant professional growth activities are needed that are prototypical, yet malleable, and designed to improve instruction and student learning, shaping lifelong learners.

Adviser: Robert H. Woody

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