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The research tries to examine music participation of students and effect it has on student's attitude toward school. This involvement is believed to have both musical and non-musical benefits for the student sat all their levels of education. Some people argue that a comprehensive choral music program should address aesthetic awareness and high levels of performance followed by authentic evaluation (Hylton, 1997). Some scholars such as Gates (1991) hold that extra musical values provide the social foundations for music participation in American schools (p. 8). Students themselves have numerous reasons for joining music study and continuing to participate in musical activities.
Earlier researches have tried to question why some students continue to participating in school music though it is not compulsory and why others decide to quite music study. Several others have examined the attitudes of students toward their music participation, their possible relationship to musical ability and their attitudes towards music; and the vast socio-economic, social and geographic factors affecting participation in school music. This researchers have reviewed these studies in an organized way that looks at the chronological age of the subjects, from elementary students to adult levels.
Mizener conducted a Survey of students concerning their attitudes toward school music at the elementary level and performed this by questioning 542 children in grades three through six grades. The concern was on their attitudes towards singing and choir participation. According to his survey only 45% of the children surveyed opted to sin in the school choir while the remaining other preferred singing in alternative settings such as bathrooms. The study found no correlation between singing skill and attitudes toward school choir participation. This was because he also found out that some students were better singers but had no interests in singing in the choir. Mizener however made several recommendations to encourage positive attitudes and continued participation in school music based on the results of her questionnaire: this included the use of unpitched percussion for rhythmic exercises and drills use singing games to engage students musically, and find songs that are in a limited, comfortable range for upper elementary students. Attitudes toward school music at the elementary level are neither constant nor consistent. Mizener (1993)
Pognowski on the other hand noted that as children advanced in age and grade level, they increasingly have negative attitudes toward school music.. She then came up with a hypothesis that involvement in an interactive experiential music in the education system might help improve those declining attitudes. Consistent with Mizener, Pognowski discovered no relationship between musical aptitude and attitudes toward school music. There was, however, a moderately high correlation between global attitudes toward music and attitudes toward school music. Students who liked music in general were more likely to enjoy school music (Pognowski, 1985)
Music participation and self-esteem of the students
Another consideration is students' beliefs on their own musical ability. In this case Austin (1990) found that students with higher levels of musical self-esteem which was found to be more in girls than boys were more likely to participate in school music. Seconded by Bowman and VanderArk (1982) , who pointed out the positive relationship between self-esteem and parental support to music participation.
However, Low self-esteem is believed to cause many problems that may include academic underachievement or overachievement, among other anti-social problems such as violence, drug addition, prostitution and criminal behavior (Adler, Cohen, Houston, Manly, Wingert, & Wright, 1992). Educational reform movements such as multi- culturalism and cooperative learning have been encouraged, to improve student self-concept (Ames & Ames, 1978; Aronson, 1977; Hale-Benson, 1986; Johnson, 1981; Kirkland-Homes & Federlein, 1990; Slavin, 1982). As a result of this reforms due to their wide support has enabled the body of educational research literature pertaining to self-concept has grown to vast proportions. And according to Adler, Currently there are over 10,000 scientific studies of self-esteem measured by more than 200 different tests (Adler, et al., 1992).
Moreover it is found That there are significant gender differences reported in most aspects of personality is well as those that have been documented.( Macdonald, Hargreaves, and Miell ,2002, p. 125) they summarizes the men's use of music is as central and personal, while that of to be instrumental and social. Kemp reports men score higher on measures of introversion and some measures of independence while women score higher in measures of sensitivity and anxiety in general populations (1996, p. 108). Kemp suggests that, similar to composers, people might expect high levels of independence in jazz musicians, as well as a lack of desire for achieving material success (p. 190). Frederickson suggests that some women and girls choose not to participate in the classroom because of social politeness and a fear of breaking norms (2000). She refers to this as female silence. A woman in the jazz idiom may avoid being successful in jazz improvisation to prevent being viewed as unfeminine by males in her class. Adolescent girls, in particular, are interested in making and keeping friends (Manning & Hagen, 1995). Success in a male-dominated area might threaten relationships that are more important than a grade or award in improvisation. If young girls do not see success in jazz improvisation as rewarding for their gender group, they may have a less positive attitude towards learning improvisation.
The American Association of University Women reports that girls and women are still not equally represented in some areas of education (2000, p. 43). They say that girls' participation in male-dominated fields such as math and science is improving (1999, p. 12); however, women remain a minority in the field of music that is represented by jazz. They continue that sticking to rigid gender roles can be a hindrance to the careers of both men and women as it minimizes skills and values of each gender (1999, p. 108).thus Girls not choosing to participate in jazz studies can restrict the number of possibilities available to them in music education and performance careers (Delzell, 1994). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Those â€¦ who can perform equally well in several musical styles have better employment opportunities" (2006).
Music education in school can be a big booster or Self-esteem. This is because of the many social implications that underlie low self esteem. This is because music helps the students channel their energies positively which encourages them to act morally and avoid anti-social behaviors'. When music education is encouraged in schools then it gives the children opportunities to discover their inner talents which they can concentrate on. Music education shoul then be improved.
Additional research has examined possible economic and racial factors affecting participation in school music. In Texas, Nabb (1995) for example it was found out that students from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with lower academic achievement participated less often compared to the other students .consequently, Watts, Doane, and Fekete ,1994) analyzed music participation of minority (African-American and Hispanic) students in Florida. They then recommended class-based, family-based, , and school-based strategies to encourage the minority students to participation in the school music program. Some of the strategies named were personal contact with students, culturally sensitive pedagogy, small group rehearsals, and special transportation arrangements for students. Music participation of minority students has possible non-musical benefits. For at-risk urban youth, achievements in music performance, and mentoring by a music teacher have been considered to build confidence and possible feelings of global self-worth (Shields, 2001).
School leadership and school music education
International and national research shows that music education uniquely contributes to the emotional, physical, social and cognitive growth of students. Music in schools contributes to both instrumental and aesthetic learning outcomes; transmission of cultural heritage and values; and students' creativity, identity and capacity for self-expression and satisfaction.
While there are examples of excellent music education in schools, many students lack access to effective music programs. Music education in school thus really needs reforms to curb the problem. The quality of music education depends on the quality of teaching that should blend with active and quality support. The music teachers require support from all corners that includes parents, head teachers, the wider community among others. Music teachers should then be supported greatly with curriculum support materials, advisory services, networks and in their professional development through good training. These efforts if actuated would bring about tremendous effects on school music participation and there would be a positive increase in participation.
This research is thus relevant in the manner that it is geared towards the Improvement of the equity of access in music education, participation and involvement in school music education for all the students by doing so, there will be an increased participation from all students including those who are less fortunate in the society. This also helps in encouraging gender discrimination in this line of career. This research also tries to see the improvement of teacher pre-service and in- service education as a way of developing personnel in the school music curriculum. It also sorts to encourage curriculum support services. The research is also relevant in that it tries to explain the importance of music education through a food leadership framework in schools. With all the above this research tries to give solutions to improve the overall status of music in schools.
This study attempted to identify some of the factors and influences that may predict continued participation in choral music for high school students. Earlier researches have discovered home and family support can make a difference in student interests and choices. This survey confirmed that more students continued to participate in school choral music whose parents were also involved in music and who came from homes where music was relatively important. (Adderly, Kennedy, & Berz, 2003; Bowles, 1991)
While some have found that musical skill was not related to attitudes toward or participation in school music (Mizener, 1993; Pognowski, 1985), others were able to relate music self-concept to successful participation (Austin, 1990; Haygood, 1994; National Center for Educational Statistics, 1999). In this study, most choir participants (63.6%) have been told they are good musicians, while only 22.3% of non-participants received that message from others. Positive feedback evidently contributed to musical self-concept and continued participation in school music. Are there ways that some of the non-participants could have been made to feel more successful in their musical pursuits and activities? Could prior musical experiences have been designed or structured to maximize student success and minimize student frustration?
It seems that prior music experiences in school are also related to participation in high school choral music. For this sample of high school singers, 93.2% had also participated in middle school music programs. The middle school music teacher was an inspiration to continue music for 33.7% of the high school participants. Although this study did not examine how many middle school students choose to dropout of music or the reasons why, there appears to be a relationship between continued musical studies in middle school up through high school.
Although the percentages of participants and non-participants who had a trained music specialist in elementary school were very similar, several elementary music activities served as predictors of continued vocal music participation. Playing classroom percussion instruments and singing songs were activities that came through in the step-wise multiple regressions as predicting continued participation in high school choir. As suggested by Mizener (1993), use of percussion instruments and enjoyment of musical games in elementary school were common elements for many of these high school musicians. Performing in elementary school programs was a positive experience for 84.2% of the choir participants. The enjoyment of performing continued through high school with 82.4% of current musicians listing performance as a reason for continued participation.
Peer influence was also a factor in predicting music participation in high school choir. For these high school singers, 60.8% participated in choir because it was "where their friends are," while only 31.5% of the non-participants considered that to be a valid reason. Choir students would seem to be attracted to and share commonalities with other choir students. The sense of camaraderie and support was palpable in the choir room of this high school. Because the survey occurred at the end of the school year, there had been many opportunities to bond and connect through the rehearsals and performances of the prior academic year(s).
To summarize, the factors that predicted continued participation in choral music for these high school students in Southern California were positive support and involvement at home, positive music experiences in elementary school and middle school, a positive self-concept in regard to music skills, and the support of peers. While there are many factors to consider, and not all are in the realm or control of the music educator, positive, quality, meaningful music experiences in elementary and middle school would encourage students to continued participation and predict further musical development.
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