Committee Chair

Rutledge, Valerie C.

Committee Member

Miller, Ted L.; Harris, Lee; Griffin, Jayne


Dept. of Education


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Experts agree: music matters. It is fundamental to the human condition. Studies confirm its particular importance throughout early childhood, and yet, for most American preschool children high quality, developmentally appropriate music instruction is missing from their daily preschool experience. The purpose of this collective case study was to describe and interpret the impact of a site-specific, school-wide collaboration in music education on the attitudes and practices of twelve early childhood practitioners working together in a Reggio-inspired preschool setting. The research questions this study sought to answer were: Research Question One: How does the collaboration impact the attitudes practitioners have regarding the value and purpose of the implementation of music instruction in their classrooms? Research Question Two: How does the collaboration strengthen expertise in music education among these practitioners? Research Question Three: How does a collaborative, emergent professional development model influence change in the practice of music education among study participants? Practitioners participate d in a four-month collaboration with a music educator and researcher, based on fundamental tenets of developmentally appropriate practice in music education for young children. The children at the preschool (n = 100) were secondary participants in this study. Participants’ development of individual and community practice in music education was chronicled through interviews, artifacts, and lesson observations. Audio and video documentation of meetings and instruction were transcribed and analyzed. Data analysis was accomplished through iterative cycles of open, axial, and thematic coding. Conceptual memos guided the researcher to themes emerging across cases. Study findings illustrate how participants’ self and community identity impacted their adoption of new instructional strategies in music education and that their musical awareness improved over time. Teachers’ assessment of their own and their children’s musical skills and knowledge contributed to their improved practice in music education. Study findings also supported the co-constructed design of the professional development model, and confirmed the importance of researcher flexibility toward participant needs, practices, and the influence of setting on the mentorship. The model holds promise for future collaborations between music and early childhood professionals and asserts the value of site-specific engagements. Future research might investigate similar studies in alternative settings.


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




School music -- Instruction and study; Music -- Instruction and study -- Juvenile


Educational Leadership

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




xiv, 238 leaves