Steven N. Kelly

Center for Music Research

Florida State University


This study investigated the influence of specific variables on undergraduate music education majorsÍ decisions to pursue music education as an occupation. The investigationÍs basis is two previous studies regarding the recruitment of teachers as a process strongly influenced by social variables labeled as Attractors and Facilitators. Attractors were defined as comparative benefits and advantages of teaching over other occupations. Facilitators were defined as social mechanisms that enable individuals to enter the teaching profession.


A survey divided into three parts was used in the present study. Part One contained five questions regarding the subjectsÍ gender, race, grade level they desired to teach, their performance area, and when the subjects decided to pursue music education as a college major. Part II contained seven items related to Attractor and Facilitator variables. Each item used a five point Likert-type scale on which the subjects indicated the extent each variable influenced their decisions to become music educators. Part III contained two free response questions asking the subjects to state the most important factors affecting their decisions to become music teachers and how they felt emotionally when they decided to become a music teacher. The subjects (N = 189) completing the survey were upperclass undergraduate music education majors at two large southeastern schools of music and represented diverse cultural and musical backgrounds.


Results were both comparable to and contrasted previous studies. Most subjects decided to pursue music education as a vocation while they were in high school, wanted to initially teach high school, and that while many eventually wanted to teach at the college level, most eventually wanted to teach high school. The data demonstrated that enjoying working with children, believing that teachers could improve society, and the enjoyment of the school/learning environment were the most influential variables on the subjectsÍ decisions to become teachers. The variables of opportunities to decide to become teachers, and the ease of requirement to become teachers were less influential. Statistically significant differences were found among gender and race. Free responses indicated that the love and enjoyment of music was the most influential reason to become a music teacher and that subjects felt emotionally happy or at peace when they made that decision.