Experiences of three students with ADHD in the middle school band ensemble
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This dissertation was a qualitative examination of the band participation of three adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This investigation of individual experiences and perceptions could help readers understand what adolescents with ADHD value about their band participation and what academic, interpersonal, and behavioral challenges adolescents with ADHD face during band participation. Research questions included: (a) What is the nature of band participation for three adolescents who have been diagnosed with ADHD? (b) How do adolescents with ADHD, their music teachers, and their parents describe the band participation of adolescents with ADHD? (c) In what ways do adolescents with ADHD interact with their music teachers and peers in bands? Data collection methods included interviewing, observing, and a researcher journaling; analysis involved data coding, selecting representative quotes, sorting thematically, and summarizing. Important themes included isolation from peers, a sense of belonging, the perception of peers as family, music learning and achievement motivations, behavior management strategies such as self-monitoring and hyperfocus, and ADHD-symptoms of impulsivity, inattentiveness, and hyperactivity. All participants were high-achieving musicians. Notable findings included close relationships with band directors, the use of hyperfocus to manage individuals' ADHD impulses or to be musically expressive, diminutive descriptions of individual skills by adolescents with ADHD, unknowingly supportive behaviors of band directors toward students with ADHD, and positive social interactions with peers when advanced musical skills coupled with leadership roles exist for adolescents with ADHD.
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