Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Parents' Musical Habitus and its Effects on a Child's Involvement in an Elementary Orchestra Program
by Wasilewski, Suzanne Hattala, Ed.D., University of Rochester, 2017, 167; 10648549
Abstract (Summary)

Since the implementation of the New York State Common Core Standards, two primary problems have arisen for elementary instrumental music teachers. First, instrumental music teachers' time to work with students is diminishing. The demands of the rigorous curriculums developed to teach the Common Core Standards create a climate where English Language Arts and Math have precedence over all other subject areas. Music is a core subject in New York State but how it appears in the school day can vary from school district to school district. Second, students are assigned so much more homework causing parents to have reservations about engaging them in other activities but many still involve their children in music. These parents have a set of acquired dispositions of thought, behavior, and taste regarding music or a musical habitus (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992; Rimmer, 2006).

This study identifies and explores the musical habitus of parents of students at a K-5 elementary school within a large economically diverse suburban school district in upstate New York. General music classes are part of each elementary school's master schedule and families have the option to participate in an elementary band or orchestra program. Specifically, the author seeks to understand the musical habitus of parents whose children are participating in the elementary orchestra.

The analytical and theoretical framework used by the author for this research is grounded in Bourdieu's (1986, 1992) theory of capital, with a focus on his notion of habitus and Epstein's (2010) theory of overlapping spheres of influence. Bourdieu's concept of habitus has been extended into the arts in general and to music in particular to examine the way in which people's individual histories, class origins, family backgrounds and educational opportunities interact to compose their ongoing relationship with the arts. Rimmer (2006) describes a musical habitus as an active, adaptive and generative action in sustaining musical meanings, and the structures in which they are embedded. Epstein's work focuses on one part of Bourdieu's concept of field by uniting home and school for the families involved. Understanding the level at which these three areas must interact will be a focus in the analysis of data. Together, they served as a lens to understand the musical habitus of the parents and why music is valued. This study challenges orchestra directors and administrators to understand why parents encourage and perpetuate their child's participation in instrumental music when balancing the daily schedules of their students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hursh, David
Commitee:
School: University of Rochester
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 78/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Music education, Elementary education
Keywords: Elementary Orchestra, Musical Habitus, Parent Influence
Publication Number: 10648549
ISBN: 978-0-355-24053-5
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