Date of Award



© 2020 Edward D. Wilkin

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Jacqueline Lookabaugh

Second Advisor

Andrea Disque

Third Advisor

Mary Therese Hissong


The purpose of this qualitative intrinsic case study was to understand what motivated former high school music students who failed an adjudicated festival audition, their perseverance to improve, and their return to the audition process in following years. In direct connection, this study fills a gap in literature regarding why students remain motivated throughout their high school years of music festival auditions. A focus on what motivated these students to persist through challenging music auditions was guided by the theoretical framework of self-determination theory. Data analysis was conducted on Intrinsic Motivation Inventory evaluations and in-depth student interviews. Through this case study, three primary themes of relationships, audition, and persistence/rejection emerged with 10 emergent subthemes. The primary supports in motivation for learning music were positive attitudes, an interest in learning to play music, and external factors such as relationships with their music educator and their course of study. When educators create systems to support students through autonomy, positive relations, and a focus on the process of learning, students develop intrinsic motivation and build a level of persistence. Findings from this study may be useful for festival organizers, K–12 school systems, high school music students, music teachers, and teachers in general.


Ed.D. Dissertation