Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Andrea Disque

Second Advisor

Chad Walls


The traditional concert band/orchestra model in many public high schools often passively presents content regarding Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). BIPOC students in these ensembles bring a wealth of experience from their communities. Meanwhile, BIPOC face barriers including invalidation and a diminished sense of representation in these ensembles. This qualitative investigation explored how BIPOC students in a public 9-12 high school district experienced social, pedagogical, curricular practices in their school’s concert band/orchestra. Guided by critical race theory and culturally responsive pedagogy, and employing interpretive phenomenological analysis, this study addressed the lack of inclusivity and representation experienced by BIPOC in concert band and orchestra, and gaps in literature surrounding BIPOC in these performing groups. Analysis of semi structured interviews with six current BIPOC enrolled in their high school’s concert band/orchestra yielded five findings. The research questions focused on social, pedagogical, and curricular practices, and cultural/ethnic representation, and the participants answers revealed (1) the lack of BIPOC representation in guest clinicians and selected repertoire, (2) rehearsals are teacher driven with limited student input, (3) the ensemble environment reflects a White/Western (minority) with an ethnic majority, (4) there are limited opportunities to explore non-Western ethnic ensembles, and music and (5) concert band and orchestra are enjoyable; however, the experience could be improved. The findings of the current research study suggest that changes need to be made in both the ways that traditional public school-based concert band and orchestra programs are taught, and how underrepresented students are sustained in their educational experiences.

Keywords: culturally responsive music pedagogy, critical race theory, BIPOC, underrepresented, concert band, orchestra


Ed.D. Dissertation



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