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Thiel College band director discusses how socioeconomic factors affect student band participation


Thiel College band director discusses how socioeconomic factors affect student band participation

GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College Director of Bands and Professor of Music Andrew Erb presented his research, “The Effects of Socioeconomics on School Instrumental Ensemble Participation,” to attending band directors at the recent Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, District 5 Jr. High Band Festival, held at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School, in Cranberry, Pennsylvania.

“The National Association of Music Education, formerly the Music Educators National Conference, is the national organization to which the vast majority of music teachers belong,” Erb said. “The National Association promotes music education for all students. Unfortunately, researchers have shown that certain populations, including those from low socioeconomic homes, are terribly under-represented in instrumental ensembles. This study was an attempt to uncover some of the potential reasons behind this phenomenon.”

PMEA approved the presentation for Act 48 credit—continuing education credits that public-school teachers are required to earn to maintain teaching certificates. Erb’s research explored socioeconomic factors that influenced students’ decisions or ability to persist in instrumental ensembles. Erb recently conducted this study in a western Pennsylvania school district whose student population included more than 50 percent economically-disadvantaged students.

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Thiel College is a private liberal arts institution founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 25 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio to more than 900 students. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016 and remains committed to combining tradition with innovation.

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