Perceived factors impacting school music programs: The teacher's perspective

Carlos R. Abril, Julie K. Bannerman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine elementary music teachers' perceptions of factors impacting their music programs and teaching positions as well as the actions these teachers take in response to those factors. The following research questions guided the study: (1) What factors are perceived to impact music programs and teaching positions? (2) What is the nature of these factors? (3) How and within what socioecological levels do teachers act on behalf of their programs or positions? (4) To what degree are specific actions, people, and/or groups thought effective in impacting music programs? U.S. music teachers (N = 432) responded to a survey designed to answer these questions. A socioecological framework was used in the design of the survey and analysis of the data. Results suggest that teachers perceive micro-level factors (school) to have a substantial impact on their programs. Teachers' actions were mostly focused on the micro level although many teachers considered meso-level (school district) engagement to be vital for maintaining or improving music programs in a given school district. Besides music-specific policies, macro-level issues (state and national) were not viewed as impacting programs in substantive ways. The further removed a factor from the micro level, the less impact was felt and the fewer actions were taken.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-361
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Research in Music Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 20 2015


  • advocacy
  • arts education
  • policy
  • school music
  • socioecological theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Education


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