The case of the Highlands Community Band: structuration, self-determination, and the promotion of participation beyond the classroom
Billaud, Louise Ann
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Despite the numerous community bands found throughout the United States, a large majority of secondary school instrumentalists fail to maintain music involvement after graduation. Consequently, the fields of music education and community music have issued calls for researchers to investigate ways to promote participation throughout life. Giddens' structuration theory and Deci and Ryan's self-determination theory (SDT) served as the respective sociological and psychological lenses to examine participation in the pseudonymous Highlands Community Band. Thirty-two volunteer members of this multi-generational band provided insights into how the band's structure, including its rules and resources, controlled or promoted involvement. Participants included lifelong musicians, those returning to music after a hiatus, and those who began participation without prior band experience. Interviews, observations, and document collection served as the primary forms of data. Rules and resources that supported the innate needs of autonomy, relatedness, and competence promoted higher levels of motivation to participate in accordance with SOT. The band structure featured unrestrictive polices-no-fees, no auditions, no attendance policies-that permitted involvement regardless of skill level or other life priorities that interfered with attendance. Players promoted self-development; skilled members served as mentors for those less experienced, who thrived on their ability to co-exist with members that inspired them. Child care provisions increased the opportunity for parents to participate and seemed to be an outlying feature of this band. Thirty of thirty-two participants experienced unique physical, emotional, or spiritual moments in their musical lives. These roles and experiences contributed to members' musical identities within the band, which led to continued music participation and support of the community band structure through active participation. Although the policies of the Highlands band facilitated participation for a diversity of people, potential participants who desired a structure with homogenous skill levels may find nonrestrictive rules as sanctioning participation. Structural properties that have the potential to facilitate participation beyond the classroom include the elimination of restrictive policies, the provision of childcare opportunities and instrument acquisition, a participatory environment for learning, the valuing of the contributions of each member, and the exploration of ways to increase participant identification within groups. Keywords: community band, allocative resources, authoritative resources, autonomous motivation, controlled motivation, identity, innate needs, participation, rules, self-determination theory, structuration theory, and structure.
Thesis (D.M.A.)--Boston University