Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Music



First Advisor

Alan L. Spurgeon

Second Advisor

Edward Sisson

Third Advisor

Andrew Paney

Relational Format



The present study investigated the strengths and areas of improvement for elementary music teacher preparation from the perspective of multiple members of a single body of music teachers. Subjects for the study were elementary music teachers from an urban school district in the southern United States. All elementary music teachers in the school district have at least Level I Kodaly certification. Thus, they teach from the same perspective. An online survey instrument utilizing open-ended and free response questions was designed based on the research questions. Cooperating teachers commented regarding elementary music student teacher preparation across three broad categories: teaching skills (lesson planning, lesson presentation, and curriculum design and sequencing); teacher understandings (child development, classroom management, and assessment strategies); and musicianship skills (singing, playing instruments, improvisation and composition as related to the music instruction of children). Findings from the present study indicate a general consensus with previous research. The most frequently identified strengths include lesson planning, lesson presentation, knowledge of child development, and musicianship skills in singing and playing instruments. The most frequently identified areas of improvement include curriculum design and sequencing, classroom management strategies, assessment strategies, and musicianship skills of improvisation and composition. In contrast to previous research, results of the present study found that 25% of cooperating teachers found curriculum design and sequencing to be a strength of preservice teachers and that the strength was associated with a familiarity with the Kodaly method. A secondary goal was to examine the undergraduate elementary music methods course taken by the preservice teachers prior to student teaching. Two universities were identified as the most frequent sources of music student teachers. Findings indicate that there appears to be a difference in breadth of elementary music training based on time and institutional emphasis. At the same time both universities emphasize the elementary music knowledge base demonstrated in the review of literature, such as lesson planning and presentation, developing age appropriate music learning activities, understanding musical skill development across grade levels, classroom management strategies, and instruction in prominent methodologies. Moreover, training at both institutions occurs in the context of authentic learning environments as well as the university classroom. Instructors utilize teaching strategies shown in the literature base to increase preservice teacher learning such as objective measurement of teaching episodes, a reflective practice model, and multiple teaching experiences. Additionally, cooperating teachers reiterated positive outcomes for these types of training activities. Cooperating teachers in the present study repeatedly identified time and experience as promoters of music teacher development.


Emphasis: Music Education



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