Date of Award

Fall 10-1-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Jillian Skelton, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Judy Shoemaker, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Suzette Zientara, Ph.D.


High school orchestra students demonstrate a high degree of comfort in the orchestra classroom by spending out-of-class time in the room. Climate inventories do not address the constituents’ particular to the experience of the orchestra student. This heuristic phenomenological study explored the identification and description of qualities of transformational learning in the high school orchestra classroom that contributes to a positive classroom learning environment. Six seasoned high school orchestra directors with a minimum of ten years of experience participated in semistructured interviews to recall events during their high school years or as a teacher. Each was able to provide anecdotal details and characteristics to support the existence of four qualities of transformational learning in the orchestra classroom: belonging, flow, attunement, and identity development/self-actualization. The participants suggested sixteen practicing components that contributed to the description of events surrounding the transformational qualities: appropriate literature, challenge, choice, the expectation of excellence, intentionality, leadership, long-term relationships, mindfulness, movement, purpose, responsibility, ritual and tradition, set-apartness, trust, vocation, and work. These constituents along with the four main transformational qualities bore some alignment corresponding to Maslow (1970a, 1970b), but implied a more active component as the performance of music requires the player to replicate the events in concert with others.

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