Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Christopher R. Gareis

Committee Member

James H. Stronge

Committee Member

Thomas J. Ward

Committee Member

Nancy K. Klein


High school music education is not mandated by the Standards of Quality, the Virginia state educational law, and courses offered on the high school level vary among Virginia school divisions. This explanatory mixed methods dissertation study provides an overview of history of development of high school music education in Virginia, reveals what high school music courses currently offered in Virginia school divisions (N = 131), and surveys approaches to development of programs of studies of a representative sample of Virginia school divisions (n = 14). The study generated three major findings. First, 29 various courses are offered among Virginia school divisions on various levels, five performance type courses and five nonperformance type courses. Out of ten course types offered in Virginia, Band and Chorus are the only courses offered at significantly high rates, while Composition, Guitar, Music Technology, IB Music, Orchestra, and Piano are offered at significantly low rates. This is because Band and Chorus have traditionally been considered as basic high school music courses, and everything else is offered as school divisions can afford and what teachers employed in school divisions can teach. Second, larger Virginia school divisions, located in racially/ethnically diverse cities and suburbs offer more variety of high school music courses. This is because low school budgets and teacher shortages are detrimental to smaller and remote school divisions, as they can afford to hire only so many teachers to teach only so many subjects. Third, administrative approaches to developing high school programs of studies, particularly approaches to stakeholder engagement in program development, influence what courses are offered.




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