Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Dennis Cox

Second Committee Member

Beth Wiemann

Third Committee Member

Laura Artesani


This research project sought to answer the primary research question: What occurs when the music program in a church changes its emphasis from performance to education? This qualitative study of a church choir included participant observation of Wednesday evening and Sunday morning rehearsals over a 12 week period, individual interviews, group interviews, written responses, and written and visual assessment of musical skills. The goal was a rich description of the participants and emerging themes resulting from the shift in emphasis. Analysis of data occurred through inductive processing. Data was initially coded and then the codes were categorized into sub-themes, and finally into major themes. Early analysis of the data began with reflection in a researcher journal. Following the completion of the study the journal was entered into a word processor, as were transcriptions of videotaped rehearsals, and written reflections from the participants. After all data had been reviewed repeatedly and entered into the word processor, it was coded, reexamined, and finally categorized into sub-themes and themes. After coding and identification of major themes and sub-themes the finding were challenged by looking for disconfirming evidence. Finally, after the completion of the analysis stage, member checks were conducted. The results of the analysis of data revealed themes that could be associated either with the choir or the director. The key themes primarily associated with the choir were: Response to the change in rehearsal format; Attitude toward learning; Appropriateness of community learning model; and, Member's perceptions of the results of the program. The key themes associated with the director were identified as: Conductor assuming the role of educator; Conductor recognizing the choir as learners; Conductor treating rehearsals as a time for teaching and learning; and, Conductor's perception of the effectiveness of the change in focus. The study concluded that a change in focus from performance to education did not noticeably improve the sound of the choir after twelve-weeks. There were however, indications that improvements were being made by the individual members. Further study of the effects over a longer period of time is recommended.