Pilot Study: A Survey of Middle and High School Choral, Band, and Orchestra Directors Regarding Professional Development of Musicianship Skills for Music Educators

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Brown, Jessica J.
McWhirter, Jamila L.
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Middle Tennessee State University
Professional development is a key component of an educator’s journey in continuing to strengthen their teaching. For music educators, maintaining personal musicianship skills is vital for excellent instruction, yet there appears to be little professional development in maintaining those skills. The purpose of this research was to discover what types of professional development would benefit secondary music educator’s musicianship skills and by whom and how often this type of professional development should be offered. A brief online survey was sent out to middle and high school music educators who are members of either the Middle Tennessee Vocal Association or the Middle Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association. The survey consisted of categorical ratings, ranking questions, multiple choice questions, and open-ended questions. The data are reported through frequencies and percentages. 100 percent of the educators expressed the belief that this type of professional development benefited their teaching. However, scheduling conflicts were the highest deterrents of the teacher’s ability to to attend this professional development. In addition, cost and location of the professional development also provided difficulties. Conducting, sight-reading, and improvising were ranked as the top skills sought out for professional development sessions. Through this pilot study, it may be concluded that music educators feel the need for a focus of personal musicianship through professional development. However, their perceptions of these opportunities are not offered often enough to meet their specific secondary music educator needs. In the future, it may be beneficial to study a larger sample of secondary music educators to corroborate the findings of this study.
Music education, Professional development, Musicianship