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Music Program Recruiting

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Master's research project on recuiting students for a high school music program.

Master's research project on recuiting students for a high school music program.

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  • 1. Recruiting Choir Students An action research project by Lee Andres Grand Canyon University EDU 590 1
  • 2. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Table of Contents Slide 1 – Title Page Slide 2 – Table of Contents Slide 3 – Focus and Baseline Data Slide 4 – Performance Objectives Slide 5 – Clarifying Theories: Literature Review 1 Slide 6 – Clarifying Theories: Literature Review 2 Slide 7 – Clarifying Theories: Literature Review 3 Slide 8 – Clarifying Theories: Literature Review 4 Slide 9 – Clarifying Theories: Literature Review 5 Slide 10 – Hypothesis, Research Question and Intervention Slide 11 – Graphic Reconstruction: The Problem Slide 12 – Graphic Reconstruction: Possible Solution Slide 13 – Collecting the Data Slide 14 – Triangulation Matrix Slide 15 – Data Analysis and Report Slide 16 – Data Analysis and Report continued Slide 17 – Data Analysis and Report continued Slide 18 – Data Analysis and Report continued Slide 19 – Data Analysis and Report continued Slide 20 – Data Analysis and Report continued Slide 21 – Data Analysis and Report continued Slide 22 – Data Analysis and Report continued Slide 23 – The Action Plan Slide 24 – The Reflection Slide 25 – References 2
  • 3. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Focus How do we get more kids to join the vocal music program? Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado has been faced with declining enrollment over the last several years. The declining enrollment is primarily due to the natural cycle of the area. That is, the number of young households with children moving into the area is less than the number of older households without students in the Columbine area schools that are not moving out of the area. Subsequently, the enrollment in the vocal music program has declined, because there are fewer students at Columbine, and now there are fewer course offerings throughout the curriculum and competition among electives has become greater. The researcher strongly believes that this is an appropriate research topic because the survival of the program is dependent upon the number of students who participate in the program. In addition, the number of students in a vocal music program directly affects the quality of a program because the more students that participate, the wider variety of talent that is found in the program. Baseline Data The trend in declining enrollment over the last three years at Columbine High School: The 2002 – 2003 and 2003 – 2004 figures are taken from the official figures sent by Columbine High School to the Colorado High School Activities Association. The 2004 – 2005 school year is taken from the Columbine High School database. 2002 – 2003 School Year 2003 – 2004 School Year 2004-2005 School Year Total Enrollment: 1737 Total Enrollment: 1675 Total Enrollment: 1610 Total Department enrollment: 348 Total Department enrollment: 299 Total Department enrollment: 270 The total department enrollment figures for all three years include students enrolled in more than one vocal music class. Time Line The researcher plans to survey the students in the program, any new students that join the program, and fellow vocal music teachers within the school district. The researcher hopes to have all of this accomplished early in January of 2005 when the new semester begins and the actual number of new student to the program are known. Criteria for Success The researcher believes that any increase in the number of students would be a success. However the researcher feels that a minimum of new of 4 new students would be considered fair, 10 new students good, 16 new students Excellent and 22 new students would be excellent. The following slide contains the performance objectives for the project. 3
  • 4. Table of Measurable Performance Objectives TRAIT POOR - 1 FAIR - 2 GOOD - 3 EXCELLENT - 4 OUTSTANDING - 5 The number No new students are added 4 new students are added 10 new students are 16 new students are All goals are met of students to the program. regardless of what grade added to the program added to the program with a minimum of that are they are in. regardless of what regardless of what 22 students are added to the grade they are in. grade they are in. added to the program by program. The ideal the end of the ratio would be as semester. follows: Seniors – 2 Juniors - 4 Sophomores – 6 Freshman - 10 Present Students in the program Students in the program Students in the Students in the Students in the students add no new students to the add 3 new students to program add 8 new program add 12 new program add 16 new recruit new program. the program. students to the students to the students to the students for program. program. program. the program. Teachers Teachers add no new Teachers add 1 new Teachers add 2 new Teachers add 4 new Teachers add 6 new recruit new students to the program. student to the program. students to the students to the students to the students for program. program. program. the program. 4
  • 5. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Clarifying Theories The following slides contain a literature review done by the researcher. SUMMARY 1 The first article reviewed was “Recruiting and Retaining Males” by Kenneth Phillips, published in Teaching Music in 1995. The author looked at possible reasons why young boys do not sing in school choirs and suggested several methods for recruiting boys to sing in the school choir. Phillips first briefly looked at why boys, especially elementary and middle school age boys choose not to sing. The primary reason is that young boys think they will be ridiculed by their peers or, as in one case the author cited, by their own family members (older brothers). The problem for young boys is their voices are still unchanged and their voices sound much like a girl’s voice. The author points out that boys need to be taught the proper way to sing and be convinced that the way they sing does not in any way take away from their “boyness/manhood.” Changing societal attitudes in a positive way about boys and singing is the biggest challenge for any choir teacher The vast majority of the article dealt with positive ways to model good singing for boys and suggestions for recruiting boys to sing in the school choir. The author first discussed ways to equate singing with sports by emphasizing the physical aspects of singing including physical conditioning and warm ups, especially when dealing with younger boys. The author also emphasized good modeling when teaching students to sing including helping them sing in their range, thus giving them success and a positive self image about their singing. One way for boys to gain a positive image is to see other boys successfully singing. Having boys see a children’s choir with a large number of boys or a high school group with boys can help create a positive image of singing. The author then made several suggestions about how to recruit boys including getting boys to participate in the school musical, recruiting during study halls and fee periods, and creating a male chorus in the high school. REFLECTION While this article was not a traditional research paper, the author made several excellent points about boys and singing. The researcher taught elementary school for ten years and constantly fought the image that singing was an activity for “sissies”. While being a male helped to change this attitude and the researcher certainly understands the problem, he still have to fight it at the high school level. The author’s suggestions for having young boys see older boys sing is something that is done by the researcher on a yearly basis. His ensembles annually perform at the five feeder elementary schools and he counts on this experience to attract kids into singing when they come to the high school. In many ways the author confirmed that what is already happening at Columbine High School right now, and what the researcher did as an elementary teacher was on the right track. He has long felt that recruiting kids to sing in a high school program begins before the kids get to the high school and this article confirms that belief. Phillips, K. H. (1995). Recruiting and retaining males. [Electronic version] Teaching Music, 2, 28 – 19. 5
  • 6. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Clarifying Theories SUMMARY 2 The second article reviewed was “Recruiting for the Choral Ensemble by Emphasizing Skill and Effort” By Christopher W. Peterson, published in the Music Educators Journal in 2002. The author looked at why People feel they cannot sing and how a choral director can change that attitude in order to recruit students for the program. The first half of the article focused on why people feel they do not have musical ability. The author pointed out that studies have shown that attribution theory, the belief about why one succeeds or fails at a given activity, is primary reason why people have a particular self-concept about their musical abilities. At some point in their lives, usually at the elementary ages, a student has either had a successful experience or a poor experience dealing with singing. According to the author, attribution theory states “there are four general causes to which people attribute success and failure: luck, effort, ability, and task difficulty.” Research has shown that beliefs about ability and effort come from within the person and luck and task difficulty are derived from external sources. In addition, ability and task difficulty are perceived as unchangeable in the minds of many people creating the notion that people are born with musical talent or they are not, thereby making it difficult for a music teacher to convince the average student that they can sing. The author then explored ways to recruit students to sing in a choral program armed with the knowledge that many, if not most, people believe that they do not have the talent to sing. The first thing a teacher has to do is realize that recruiting students to sing is a fact of life for a choir director. The author points out that research shows that 95 percent of all people can learn to match pitch and become competent singers, and therefore the director should make every effort to talk to as many students as they possibly can to raise the number of singers they have in their program. Even if a singer does not immediately show interest in singing, planting the seed by explaining that most people can sing, like most people can learn to do math, can result in a student joining at a later time. Convincing students that they do not have to be the best singer in order to be a competent singer, and that this can be done purely through effort and hard work, is the challenge for the high school director. Finally the author points out that making every effort to make the non-singer welcome in your class by giving them attention, helping them out by assigning a student to be a “choir buddy”, and simply asking how they are doing after a rehearsal can go a long way in relieving their initial fears about the student’s lack of talent and ability. REFLECTION Once again this article confirms many of the things the researcher already does to recruit students and maintain singers in his program. His experience with elementary students has shown that a vast majority of students can sing if given the proper encouragement and training. Singing is a skill to be learned and like anything else, some people are better at it than others, but that does not mean that the average student cannot be successful or have fun doing it. Convincing students that with a little effort and hard work they can become a valuable member of a successful choral program is probably the hardest part of recruiting. Once a teacher has the proverbial “foot in the door”, they can continue to work on a student, even if they choose to join at a later time. Probably more than anything else, this article motivates me to work harder at recruiting kids and makes The researcher realize that bys simply talking to a kid about singing is not a waste of time, because one never know when that conversation might lead to a kid changing his/her thinking about their own abilities. Peterson, C. W. (2002). Recruiting for the choral ensemble by emphasizing skill and effort. [Electronic version] Music Educators Journal, 89, 32-35. 6
  • 7. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Clarifying Theories SUMMARY 3 The third article reviewed was “College Choir Members’ Motivation to Persist in Music: Application of the Tinto Model” by Veronica O. Sichivista, published in the Journal of Research in Music Education in 2003. The researcher looked at why college students continued to sing in college and what factors influenced their decision to sing. The researcher began by discussing previous research in this area. Earlier research found that parental influences were a very strong factor in why a student continued to sing at the college level. Students who had musical parents or were supportive of their musical activities tended to continue in choral music. A second factor was a students view on how hard they needed to work to be successful in a given activity. If the student felt that the time and effort it took to be a successful was satisfying they were more likely to continue their pursuit of music. In addition self-concept and how a student viewed their own musical talents was also important. Finally, the researcher looked at Tinto’s model for students continuing in music including such factors as background characteristics, external and internal influences, and the perception of the student about what college life is like. The researcher then developed six hypotheses to study and then developed a questionnaire for students that included both multiple choice questions and open-ended questions for them to answer. The researcher surveyed over 150 students at a southern university that included about 100 women and 50 men. The results validated many of her hypotheses including parental support, self-concept of musical ability and the student’s attitude about the value of music. The researcher then concluded her article with a discussion of her results. The researcher found that how much the student valued music in their life was a probably the strongest predictor of continued participation in choral music. Another finding she made was that while musical experience did not have a significant impact, students raised in a household with a positive musical attitude did influence a student’s decision. She also concluded that more research was needed in the area of motivation to find better ways to recruit students into continuing with music. REFLECTION While this article dealt specifically with college students, the researcher does not believe that the reasons high school students sing are very different from the reasons that college students sing. He has found that students who come from supportive environments tend to stay in my program longer than students who come from environments that are less supportive. In addition, how students view themselves and their own talents is also an important factor in their staying in my program. Most kids quit because they feel they either have little or talent in music, or they feel that they cannot achieve the highest levels of my program and look elsewhere for an activity to satisfy their need for success. Finally, the researcher feels this article helps to focus on what to ask students about what it is that keeps them in the program and how to go about that task. Sichivitsa, V. O. (2003). College choir members’ motivation to persist in music: Application of the Tinto model. Journal of Research in Music Education, 51(4), 330-341. 7
  • 8. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Clarifying Theories SUMMARY 4 The fourth article reviewed for this project was titled “Increasing Middle School and High School in Choral Groups by Developing a Revised Curriculum through Cooperative Group Process” by David Weintraub. This dissertation, found in the ERIC database, is a rather lengthy work (164 pages) about a project to increase enrollment, that was supervised by the author, in the Lakewood Public Schools in Lakewood, New Jersey. With the cooperation of the district and the choral music teachers in Lakewood, the author worked to establish a group process with the teachers of the district to increase the enrollment in the vocal music programs. As a byproduct of this process they also worked to revised the curriculum that was used and worked to maintain high standards of performance while trying to attract students. The researcher hypothesized that teachers need to go out and recruit students, rather than wait for the new school to see if any students had joined the program. He emphasized the need for recruiting boys as a way to attract more girls, advertising the program, and encouraged teachers to find ways to instill pride into the program. The curriculum was looked at by the researcher and the teachers to see if revision of educational goals could possibly bring in more students. In the end the researcher felt that there was some success and developed a plan for increasing enrollment In the district vocal music program. Another benefit was the cooperation among the vocal music teachers at the different grade level, including elementary in working together to increase enrollment and to look at the curriculum and revise it if needed. Among the revision discussed were adding sight-singing to the secondary curriculum, as well as emphasizing musical symbology. RELFECTION While this article was long and extremely detailed, it did show the need for cooperation in an articulation area (high school and it’s feeder schools) in order to have a chance at successfully increasing enrollment Performances at feeder schools and developing cooperation among those schools has always helped the Columbine area to attract students. The author also made an excellent point that teachers need to the dirty work and actually recruit students because while you always get students who enjoy music, there are always those students who never thought about singing or thought that they could sing, walking the halls. All they need is someone to say something to them. Weintraub, D. (1992). Increasing middle school and high school enrollment in choral groups by developing a revised curriculum through cooperative group process. Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Nova Southeastern University. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED356155) 8
  • 9. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Clarifying Theories SUMMARY 5 The final article reviewed is titled “Where Do We Go From Here?” by Brian Chung published in the American Music Teacher. This article is actually a transcription of a speech the author gave at a music convention, and is his topic is about attracting more students to take music and, in his words, to “make music makers”. His concern begins with a statistic that states there are fewer young people under the age of 35 playing music, whether in groups or on their own, than ever before. While Mr. Chung implies that sports is in large part responsible for this drop in interest, he tell his audience that they, the music teachers have to be the ones who go out and attract new students. Mr. Chung gives several suggestions that center around fun. He believes that the fun in playing and performing music must be both real and perceived. Teachers must find a way to make what they are doing fun for their students and they must also find ways of making what they do look fun to people in the outside in order to attract new students. He emphasizes that perception can be stronger than reality, and by fostering a positive aura around a music program can go a long way towards recruitment of students to a program. Another area that Mr. Chung feels needs to exploited is in the area of technology. Teachers need to take advantage of what is out there in terms of computers, sequencing, MIDI, and so on. Students understand and relate to new technology and teachers should use that to their advantage. Finally, Mr. Chung’s last suggestion to teachers is to value participation as much as performance. Too many teachers want a lot of students as long as they are good, and the author feel this is a mistake and a reason why participation is down. He believes it is important to accept students at whatever level they are at and try to actually teach them how to play or sing. RELFECTION Mr. Chung’s audience leaned towards private music teachers such as piano and voice teachers. However His suggestions are valuable to the school music teacher as well. Fun is important, and it may be as important as actually delivering information because if a student is not interested even the best teacher will have Difficulty. The researcher especially believes that Mr. Chung’s statements about participation are as true as anything that he said. The program at Columbine will anybody and work to make them into a competent singer and the researcher strongly believes anybody can sing and should be given the opportunity. Chung, B. (2002). Where do we go from here? [Electronic version] The American Music Teacher, 51(6), 25-29 9
  • 10. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT The following is the hypothesis and research question to be used a the basis for this study. HYPOTHESIS The students of the Columbine High School vocal music program have a number of ideas for recruiting more students for the vocal music program at Columbine. QUESTION What can we do to increase the numbers of students participating in the vocal music program? THE INTERVENTION The researcher felt that it was in the best interest of the vocal music program to find methods to attract students to the program. By using surveys the researcher hopes to find new ideas for recruiting students from the students presently in the program. The researcher strongly believes that the students who are presently in the program, and especially those who have been a part of the program for several years, are best salespeople of the program and should be tapped for new ideas. The following two slides are the Graphic Reconstructions employed by the researcher. 10
  • 11. THE PROBLEM The Problem: Declining enrollment in the music department. WHY? Declining school enrollment Competition from other electives courses How do attract more students in spite of these obstacles? Students are becoming limited in the number of classes they can take Requirements by the state and higher education forcing students to make choices in their choice of courses 11
  • 12. POSSIBLE SOLUTION 1) Have choir students sell the program: Have them tell Get recruiting others what it means ideas from our to them. students. 2) Sell the program to the student body Also talk to kids who Continue talking to quit about why they kids in the halls and at left the program. lunch. 3) Keep working on the quality of performance. People naturally want to be a part of Continue performances at something that is excellent in the elementary schools quality. Start performing at the Middle School 12
  • 13. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Collecting the Data The researcher will use three surveys to collect the data. The first, and largest, of the three surveys was given to every student in the vocal music department at Columbine High School that attended school on Friday, November 10, 2004. The survey had 10 questions with eight closed-ended multiple choice questions and two open-ended questions. It also included a place for grade and gender. The closed-ended multiple choice questions were as follows: 1) How many semesters have you participated in the vocal music program at Columbine? 2) What grade were you in when you joined the choir program? 3) What do you enjoy the most about choir? 4) What do you enjoy the least about choir? 5) Choir is my favorite class 6) Choir is my least favorite class: 7) Why do you think people quit the choir program? 8) Why did you join the choir program? The Open-ended questions were: 9) What ideas do you have to attract more students to the choir program? 10) How can we improve the choir program at Columbine High School? The second survey, that will be distributed at the beginning of next semester, will be for new students inquiring as to what it was that attracted them to the program. This survey will be short with no more than five questions. Third survey will be for vocal music teachers in the Jefferson County Public schools asking them the size of their program, relative to the overall enrollment of their school, and what techniques they use to recruit students. The following slide contains the triangulation matrix that was used for this project. 13
  • 14. Triangulation Matrix Research Question Data Source #1 Data Source #2 Data Source #3 What can we do to Student survey given to Short questionnaire given Short questionnaire increase the all students presently in to new students we given to choral numbers of students the program. recruited about their directors in the participation in our views on why they joined district about vocal music the program. recruiting techniques program? they have found useful. 14
  • 15. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Data Analysis and Report The next six slides show the results of the student survey and the researcher’s analysis/report on the data. Grade and Gender: At the beginning of the survey students were asked to give their grade and gender. Names were not asked for. Traditionally the senior class tends to have the most students while freshman class is usually the smallest and these numbers bear this out. In addition, females outnumber males anywhere from 2-1 to 4-1, depending on the class. Grade/Gender 12/Female – 42 Total Seniors – 62 12/Male – 20 Total Juniors – 58 11/Female – 41 Total Sophomores – 43 11/Male – 15 Total Freshman – 34 10/Female – 33 Total Respondents – 197 (Out of about 225 students 10/Male – 10 that are enrolled in the program, not including 09/Female – 26 students that are taking more than one class) 09/Male – 7 Total Females – 142 Other – 11/Unknown – 2 Total Males – 52 09/Unknown – 1 Unknown Gender – 3 15
  • 16. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Data Analysis and Report 1) How many semesters have you participated in the vocal music program at Columbine? 12/Female: 1 Sem – 1 3 Sem – 1 4 Sem – 1 5 Sem – 6 6 Sem – 2 7 Sem – 31 12/Male: 1 Sem – 1 2 Sem – 1 3 Sem – 4 5 Sem – 2 6 Sem – 2 7 Sem – 10 11/Female: 1 Sem – 3 2 Sem – 3 3 Sem – 12 4 Sem – 3 5 Sem – 20 11/Male: 1 Sem – 5 2 Sem – 0 3 Sem – 4 4 Sem – 2 5 Sem – 4 10/Female: 1 Sem – 7 2 Sem – 1 3 Sem – 25 10/Male: 1 Sem – 1 2 Sem – 0 3 Sem – 9 09/Female: 1 Sem – 26 09/Male: 1 Sem – 7 Unknown: 1 Sem – 2 Sem = Semester 2) What grade were you in when you joined the choir program? 12/Female: 9 – 35 10 – 5 11 – 1 12 – 1 12/Male: 9 – 11 10 – 3 11 – 5 12 – 1 11/Female: 9 – 24 10 – 14 11 – 3 11/Male: 9–6 10 – 4 11 – 5 10/Female: 9 – 27 10 – 6 10/Male: 9–9 10 – 1 09/Female: 9 – 26 09/Male: 9–7 Unknown: 9–2 10 – 0 11 – 1 12 – 0 The students that make up the core of the program have been in the program since the 9th grade. For example, out of 42 female seniors, 31 or 73%, had been in the program since the 9th grade; Out of 20 male seniors, 10 or 50%, had been in the program for 7 semesters. While senior class, the largest class at Columbine had the most students in the program as 9th graders during their first semester, the present 9th grade class is only somewhat smaller in their first semester in the program (5 fewer girls and 3 fewer boys). 16
  • 17. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Data Analysis and Report 3) What do you enjoy the most about choir? A) I love music and/or singing 52/197 26% B) The performances (concerts, musical, gigs, etc.) 11/197 06% C) I like being with my friends 12/197 07% D) Everything 133/197 67% E) Other 12/197 06% 4) What do you enjoy the least about choir? A) Rehearsals 10/197 05% B) Performances 11/197 06% C) Music selection 60/197 30% D) Nothing 72/197 37% E) Other 48/192 24% Questions 3 and 4 inquired about general satisfaction among the students in the vocal music program . Generally students seem to enjoy what they do in the program. A majority of student enjoy everything about the program with the love of singing as the second strongest choice. As far as what they enjoy the least, the younger students tend to like the music selection less than the older students which could be due in part a more mature sense of taste in literature. A note: Some students answered some questions with more than one response, therefore some of the percentages added up to more than 100% 17
  • 18. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Data Analysis and Report 5) Choir is my favorite class: Strongly Disagree 5/197 03% Disagree 3/197 02% Neutral 37/197 18% Agree 72/197 37% Strongly Agree 80/197 40% 6) Choir is my least favorite class: Strongly Disagree 135/197 68% Disagree 46/197 23% Neutral 12/197 06% Agree 1/197 01% Strongly Agree 3/197 02% Choir is clearly an important class to a large percentage of the students that take vocal music at Columbine High School. 77% of those that took the survey either answered agree or strongly agree that choir is their favorite class. Conversely, 91% answered disagree or strongly disagree to the statement that choir was their least favorite class. Only 4 students, or 3% of the total respondents, felt that choir was their least favorite class, and only 8 students, or 5% of the total respondents disagreed that choir was their favorite class. Overall this again shows great satisfaction among those students who are presently taking choir at Columbine. 18
  • 19. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Data Analysis and Report 7) Why do you think people quit the choir program? (Circle all that apply) *** A) They had to make a choice 125/197 63% B) They felt they did not have the talent to succeed 140/197 20% C) The choice of music 9/197 05% D) They did not feel they were treated fairly 10/197 05% E) Other 32/197 16% 8) Why did you join the choir program? (Circle all that apply) *** A) I love music and/or I love to sing 159/197 81% B) My friends talked me into it 19/197 10% C) My parents talked me into it 24/197 12% D) My counselor talked me into it 4/197 02% E) Mr. Andres or Mr. Marsh talked me into it 24/197 10% F) I wanted to be a part of a quality program 76/197 39% G) Other 33/197 17% *** Percentages will add up to more than 100% It would appear that the primary reason students leave the program is because of choice in courses. This was especially true this last year when Columbine reduced its day from 8 period day and to 7 period day, and staffing was reduced at Columbine by four teachers. Losing four teachers is equivalent to losing 20 sections (five sections per teacher). Subsequently the depart lost a number of students due to the fact that they had to make a choice between electives. Additionally, those choices have been compounded by the added requirements mandated for college entrance into Colorado colleges and Universities by the Colorado Higher Education Commission. The second highest answer was the feeling that those student who did quit felt like they did not have the talent to succeed in the program. Most students joined the program at Columbine because they love music or love to sing, while many also wanted to be a part of a quality program. Additionally 10% of respondents were recruited either by a friend or one of the two vocal music teachers. 19
  • 20. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Data Analysis and Report The following is a sampling of responses to questions 9 and 10. 9) What ideas do you have to attract more students to the choir program? •Announcements on RNN. (Interviews) •Posters and informational meetings. •More opportunities for people to come see choir perform. •More contests. •Students promote. •On days of registration perform for students so that they can see/ learn more of choir. •Sing in underclassman classes. •Perform during lunches. •Tell people no experience needed. •Advertise try-outs. •Gigs at feeder middle schools, not just elementary 10) How can we improve the choir program at Columbine High School? •Different music. (Especially ensembles) More modern. More challenging. •New robes. •New musicals instead of ones cycled through. •Eliminate “easy A” people who don’t really want to be here/ like to sing. •More concerts/ performances out of school. •Assign levels based on talent not grade Interestingly, some of the suggestion are already common practice by the researcher and his colleague, especially about advertising try-outs. There are however useful ideas that need to be considered, especially about doing more performances around registration and try out time. 20
  • 21. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Data Analysis and Report The results and analysis of the New Student Survey will be placed here. The results and analysis of the Jefferson County Vocal Music Teachers survey will be placed here. 21
  • 22. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT Data Analysis and Report Validity and Reliability The researcher believes the information is both valid and reliable for three reasons. The first is the students of the vocal music program answered the vast majority of the questions. The people who sing and participate in the vocal music program are most likely to be the people with the necessary insight into gaining new students, like themselves. The second is that the surveys were checked by three different people: the researcher and two student assistants. Between these three individuals all numbers were checked three different times. The final check on validity and reliability is due to the use of triangulation of information. Once the New Student survey and the District Vocal Music Teacher survey are completed the researcher should have a number of ideas about recruiting new students to a vocal music program. Skewing Factors The researcher feels that there are two potential skewing factors in the study, and both are external. The first factor is history. The survey was given to all of the students in the vocal music department the week of tryouts for the annual musical. In fact, it was given on the day (a Friday) that results were going to be posted when most kids would have had a relatively optimistic attitude, even though they might very well have been nervous and somewhat stressed. The researcher purposefully avoided giving the survey the following Monday because he knew this would have had a somewhat negative effect on some of the student's responses. The second skewing factor was maturation. Freshman will have a different,if not naive, outlook about the program, while the Seniors would tend to be more realistic, if not jaded. 22
  • 23. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT The Action Plan The researcher hopes to take the final data and create a protocol for recruiting students. The project is not yet finished and the results of the New Students survey and the District Vocal Music Teacher survey will factor into that protocol. Initially the researcher had hoped to finish the project before the end of the semester, but new students will come during the registration period in January for the second semester and schedules can change, therefore it is better to wait a while longer for more accurate results. In addition, it is always difficult to get teachers from other schools to respond in a timely fashion to surveys due to individual factors, such as responsibilities and concerts. It is also better to give those individuals more time to reply to the inquiry in order to get as many responses as possible. The next possible step may be to survey students who have quit the program, no matter how difficult their answers might be for the researcher to read. These answers could reveal invaluable information in terms of gaining and retaining new students. 23
  • 24. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT The Reflection The researcher found this project to be very beneficial to the vocal music program at Columbine High School and looks forward to receiving the results of the other two surveys. The fact that most students who take vocal music at Columbine enjoy the classes they take, and are apparently proud of being a part of the program, is a great relief to the researcher. The researcher now believes that recruiting at the middle school level may be the most critical element. Since a majority of students, the core of seniors, begin the program as freshmen, it is imperative that the program recruits heavily at the middle school during the 8th grade registration period. While this is considered crucial, recruiting once students are at Columbine is also considered crucial. The researcher will continue to look for new ways to attract students to the vocal music program at Columbine High School. 24
  • 25. ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT References Chung, B. (2002). Where do we go from here? [Electronic version] The American Music Teacher, 51(6), 25-29 Peterson, C. W. (2002). Recruiting for the choral ensemble by emphasizing skill and effort. [Electronic version] Music Educators Journal, 89, 32-35. Phillips, K. H. (1995). Recruiting and retaining males. [Electronic version] Teaching Music, 2, 28 – 19. Sichivitsa, V. O. (2003). College choir members’ motivation to persist in music: Application of the Tinto model. Journal of Research in Music Education, 51(4), 330-341. Weintraub, D. (1992). Increasing middle school and high school enrollment in choral groups by developing a revised curriculum through cooperative group process. Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Nova Southeastern University. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED356155) 25