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Volume 3, Issue 1 – February 2021

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From the Editor
Jennifer S. Walter, Editor

From the Editor

On January 28, 2021 the School of Music at UNCG lost its Director, Dennis Weston AsKew. Dr. AsKew, who died unexpectedly, was a leader, an administrator, and a colleague. Most importantly, he was a dear friend to all who knew him. I dedicate this issue of the journal to the memory and legacy of Dennis Weston AsKew. I wish you all peace and comfort in the days and weeks ahead as we continue to grapple with this sudden and terrible loss, and all of the losses we have sustained since March 2020. 

Jennifer S. Walter, Founder and Editor-in-Chief


When Great Trees Fall

Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,

rocks on distant hills shudder,

lions hunker down in tall grasses,

and even elephants 

lumber after safety.

When great trees fall

in forests,

small things recoil into silence,

their senses 

eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,

the air around us becomes

light, rare, sterile.

We breathe, briefly.

Our eyes, briefly,

see with

a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,


gnaws on kind words


promised walks

never taken.

Great souls die and

our reality, bound to

them, takes leave of us.

Our souls,

dependent upon their


now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed

and informed by their

radiance, fall away.

We are not so much maddened

as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of

dark, cold


And when great souls die,

after a period peace blooms,

slowly and always

irregularly. Spaces fill

with a kind of

soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never

to be the same, whisper to us.

They existed. They existed.

We can be. Be and be

better. For they existed.


Angelou, Maya. (2015).

The Complete Poetry. New York: Random House.

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“Can I Even Do This?”
Nancy’s and Anna’s Stories of Staying in the Closet and Implications for Music Teacher Educators

Sarah M. Minette


The purpose of this study was to better understand how two music educators of different generations navigate the complexities of being lesbians1 throughout their careers. Nancy2 began teaching in the late 70’s and Anna began teaching in the post–2015 same–sex marriage amendment campaign. Several themes developed over the course of analysis: “I think I’m gay”; “But I’m not a gay music teacher”; and generational and political issues. While Nancy’s and Anna’s stories are unique and cannot be generalized, both offer considerations into how we as music teacher educators and colleagues may offer support and guidance to those with whom we work and help prepare for their next steps as music teachers.

Keywords: LGBTQ studies, music teacher preparation, intergenerational

Correspondence Author:
Sarah M. Minette, University of St. Thomas

© Qualitative Research in Music Education 2020 qrme.uncg.edu

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Cooperating Music Teachers’ Experiences Mentoring Student Teachers from Multiple Music Teacher Preparation Programs
Erin J. Zaffini


The purpose of this case study was to examine how cooperating music teachers who work with multiple music preparation programs (a) perceived their role as mentors, (b) described the training and communication they received from the partnering colleges and universities about their role, and (c) described the extent that the communication and training influenced what they did to enact their roles as mentors. Three cooperating music teachers served as participants: one high school band and general music teacher, and two middle school band and general music teachers. Data were collected through interviews, meetings during student teaching observations and cooperating teacher journals, and the author derived themes from the data. Cooperating teachers perceived that their experiences serving as mentors for multiple preparation programs did not influence their philosophies for mentoring student teachers. However, the levels of training and communication they received from their partnering schools did influence their work as mentors. Two cooperating teachers believed their ability to serve in their roles would improve if music education program coordinators better communicated the preparation of preservice teachers prior to student teaching, along with the expectations of student teachers and themselves.

Keywords: cooperating teachers, preservice music teachers, mentoring, university supervisor

Corresponding Author:
Erin J. Zaffini, Longy School of Music of Bard College Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

© Qualitative Research in Music Education 2020 qrme.uncg.edu

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Experiences of Middle School Band Directors
Lauren J. Diaz


Middle school band is an important part of an instrumental music program in the United States. For some, this is where learning begins, while others are building skills toward proficiency. However, in a growing push for accountability, it is important to understand what is being taught in these classrooms and why. The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of performance-based middle school instructors and whether creativity and context, both historical and cultural, fit into that teaching pedagogy. Interviews were conducted with four middle school band directors from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Findings indicate that these middle school band directors are aware of the things that they are not teaching in the rehearsal setting but lean on general music to fill in the gaps in student learning. They also feel that their hands are tied in their ability to do more due to limitations of time and scheduling as well as performance requirements. The themes identified through the interview process were: (a) student/teacher rapport’ (b) pedagogical implications; (c) curriculum goals; (d) performance goals; and (e) challenges and limitations. Teachers expressed that they feel trapped between what they should teach and what they can accomplish in their schedule. Teachers also expressed a desire to expand learning experiences for students, but feel that they are caught in the middle of administrative and parental expectations and a lack of support. As many schools eliminate general music for an elective-based teaching model, ensemble teachers should focus more on a holistic teaching model.

Keywords: middle school, instrumental music, creativity, band director experience

Corresponding Author:
Lauren J. Diaz, Department of Music and Music Education Teachers College, Columbia University New York, New York, USA

© Qualitative Research in Music Education 2020 qrme.uncg.edu

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Integrated Music Education in Elementary Classrooms: Music and Grade-Level Teacher Perspectives and Practices
Daniel C. Johnson
Kristin Harney
Amorette B. Languell


Integrated Music Education (IME) involves collaborative and experiential instruction, designed to address both music and non-music standards. The purpose of this study was to explore music and grade-level teachers’ perceptions of IME and to examine their observed instructional practices. The corresponding research questions were: (a) what were participants’ perceptions about IME; and (b) how did the participants’ observed instructional practices demonstrate IME quality (i.e. disciplinary and interdisciplinary instruction)? We chose a multiple case study design and recruited a purposeful sample of teacher-participants, focusing on the research questions in context. In each of two cases, one music teacher and two of their grade-level teacher colleagues served as participants. We collected data in two forms: interviews and classroom observations. To determine the level of integration via the observations, we adapted existing models and created a protocol to rate disciplinary and interdisciplinary instruction. After inductive and deductive analysis of interview data and rating observations, five themes emerged: how participants defined IME, benefits of IME, factors that supported and hindered IME practice, and needs for its continuation. Our ratings largely confirmed these themes but also revealed a disconnect between teacher perceptions of higher IME levels and their lower-level practices. Implications for preservice and in-service teacher education include aligning definitions with practice, enhancing teacher collaboration, and developing focused professional development. Taken together, these may address the challenges of IME while simultaneously recognizing its opportunities for both elementary music and grade-level teachers.

Keywords: elementary education, music education, music integration, arts integration

Corresponding Author:
Daniel C. Johnson
Department of Music, University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington, North Carolina, USA

Kristin Harney
School of Music, Montana State University-Bozeman Bozeman, Montana, USA

Amorette B. Languell
Department of Music, Northern Michigan University Marquette, Michigan, USA

© Qualitative Research in Music Education 2020 qrme.uncg.edu

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