Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A History of Music Education in the Baldwin Park Unified School District 1950-2015
by Brookey, Suzanne, M.M.Ed., Azusa Pacific University, 2017, 165; 10623781
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study is to examine the social and historical foundations of the music education program in the Baldwin Park Unified School District in terms of personnel, organizational structure, performance activities, funding, and district support in order to gain an understanding of how the program has developed, sustained, and thrived despite significant challenges during the years 1950-2015. Whereas many school districts in California have elected to drastically reduce or cut funding to music programs, BPUSD has maintained a robust music program in the schools for more than 65 years. Demographic information indicates that the city of Baldwin Park, fifteen miles east of Los Angeles, is one of the lowest socio-economic regions in the state; this economic factor is among the challenges the district has faced throughout the years.

Data from this historical overview include interviews with former BPUSD music teachers and artifacts in the form of district personnel records, school yearbooks, concert programs, photos, newspaper clippings, and personal correspondence. Data also revealed there was strong leadership due to the administrative position of Music Coordinator held by Bob Greenwell from 1960 to 1986 and by Danny Wagner from 1986 to 2005. Under Greenwell’s leadership, a graduated music program was implemented for grades four through 12 – a structured program having elements that are still recognizable today, more than 60 years later. Collegial interactions between music teachers provided an environment for all BPUSD students to have equal opportunities to quality musical training and experiences. Program elements such as traditional performance activities – concerts, parades, field shows, and evaluation festivals – are examined with a particular focus on the role and perceived value of competition.

The investigation into this musical tradition will be beneficial to music teachers, school administrators, students and parents alike, by providing an understanding of the social and historical influences. This study will serve to fill a gap in the comprehensive history of California public school music education, documenting the early historical events occurring in this district. It will contribute to the general field of knowledge of historical music education and will benefit the Baldwin Park Unified School District by conveying a detailed account of past music education activities and providing school leadership a strategic tool for future planning.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Burdett, John M.
Commitee: Fedoruk, Claire, Simons, John E.
School: Azusa Pacific University
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 57/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Music, Education history, Music education
Keywords: Baldwin Park, California, Greenwell, Bob, Public school
Publication Number: 10623781
ISBN: 978-0-355-44687-6
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