A Comparative Analysis of Influences on Choosing a Music Teaching Occupation


David A. Rickels, University of Colorado-Boulder


Edward C. Hoffman, III, University of Montevallo


William E. Frederickson, Florida State University



Recent studies in music teacher recruitment (Rickels et al., 2010; Rickels et al., 2013) have reinforced several longstanding research trends in the understanding of influences on the decision to become a music teacher. These trends have consistently pointed to the influence of current school music teachers and/or private lesson teachers (Bergee, 1992; Bergee et al., 2001; Bergee & Demorest, 2003; Cox, 1994; Gillespie & Hamann, 1999; Hamann & Cutietta, 1996; Hamann & Walker, 1993; Madsen & Kelly, 2002; White, 1967). Past experiences in music and the opportunity to teach others (Bright, 2005; Jones, 1964; Miksza & Austin, 2010) have also consistently been reported as influential. Little research, however, has compared the motivations and experiences of those who pursue a music teaching occupation with those who do not. The purpose of this study is to conduct a comparative analysis between music teaching occupation selectors and non-selectors. This comparison is needed in order to determine if the current assumptions about the impacts of the key motivational factors in extant research are indeed isolated to music teaching selectors and therefore explanatory of the decision to choose music teaching as an occupation.


Parkes and Jones (2012) noted that there was a high degree of overlap between the stated motivations of individuals pursuing a career in music performance and those pursuing a career in music teaching. Their comparative analysis used a regression procedure based on the expectancy-value model, and was able to explain 74% of the variance in predicting career path between performance and teaching. The current study takes that type of comparison further, to examine influences toward music teaching in the context of all other career choices. This study uses survey data from a population that deliberately includes both individuals who state a preference to pursue an occupation as a music teacher and individuals who state a preference for other occupations outside of music and music teaching. These individuals are high school-aged participants at summer music camps. This population was chosen to include individuals with musical background and a demonstrated desire to develop musical skills (Kelly and Juchniewicz, 2009; Paul, 2010) that could indicate the potential as a music teacher, while not exclusively limiting the population to those who are explicitly already committed to music teaching.


Data collection will occur in June/July 2015, involving music camps hosted at three universities from different geographic regions of the United States. Participants will complete a paper survey with items designed to investigate past teaching experiences, past musical experiences, occupational/career plans and level of commitment, and ratings of influential persons relative to that career choice. Quantitative data analysis will use a discriminant analysis model to determine which potential influence factors successfully separate respondents between the music teaching occupation selector and non-selector groups.


This research is the result of the ongoing work of the Teacher Recruitment ASPA. Since 2007, this group has engaged in a sustained line of research studying the influences that may affect an individualÕs decision to select a career in music education.




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