Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)



First Advisor

Dr. Dennis M. Holt

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Sue Terrell


The purpose of this research was to establish a consensus on the type of music learning environment that affords the band student the greatest level of individual success. Both cooperative and competitive environments were examined. This project also investigated alternative methods for helping the low ability band student enjoy success in an instrumental music curriculum. Finally, the research identified teaching strategies for aiding the low ability student to be successful in a competitive learning environment.

The research results do not conclusively reach a consensus about the teaching environment that affords band students the greatest amount of success. The majority of the band director respondents utilized a cooperative learning environment, with some competitive elements. This environment utilized many of the teaching-learning methods needed for success by the low ability band student.

The needs of the low ability band student proposed in the research for certain instructional environments and strategies were supported by the responses of music educators to a questionnaire. It was discovered that while the low ability band student could enjoy group success, individual success was also important. It was determined that the band director could foster individual success by encouraging all students to do their best and to use teaching strategies, such as mastery learning, to aid the low ability band student.

Specific strategies were suggested by the research and supported in the questionnaire results, which aid the low ability band student. Data indicated that providing students with extra help, including the use of peer tutors, helped students perform on the same level as their peers. Providing instruction in small units aided the low ability band students in mastering difficult passages of music. Seating the high and low ability music students next to each other enabled students to work together in class.

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