The purpose of this study was to investigate high school band directors’ definitions of quality music, the definitions’ impact on repertoire selection, as well as the relationship between opinions of quality and the director’s years of experience, background, and professional development activities. The following questions guided the research: (1) What is the definition of quality among high school band directors as it pertains to high school band repertoire? (2) What is the relationship between high school band directors’ definitions of quality and their selection process for high school band repertoire? (3) What is the relationship between band director’s backgrounds and professional development activities and their definition of quality repertoire? (4) What is the relationship between novice and experienced band directors’ definitions of quality repertoire as they pertain to repertoire selection processes?
Pennsylvania high school band directors who are members of PMEA were asked to respond to an on-line questionnaire to gather information about their background, level of experience, professional development activities, and their opinions about quality repertoire. The information was coded and then compared to tables that were developed by the researcher that contain pertinent information found in the literature review about characteristics of quality and factors that influence repertoire selection.
Fifty-four participants, or 40% of the total population, indicated that quality was a factor that was related to their repertoire selection process. However, the data suggests that participants’ backgrounds, years of service, school demographics, and professional development activities did not suggest consistencies among the participants who had similar definitions of quality. Educational value was listed more often than quality as a factor that most influenced choosing music for study and performance. Participants also indicated that the level of challenge presented by the music, as well as the music’s appeal to the students and audience members were also prominent factors that were related to their repertoire selection process.
Based on the results of this study, it is suggested that individual directors investigate resources to make informed decisions when selecting music for study and performance with their ensembles. Since the data did not seem to imply a consistent relationship between the participants’ definitions of quality and professional development activities, perhaps specific sessions regarding repertoire selection and characteristics of quality should be offered at district and region workshops and state conferences. Other possibilities for delivering professional development regarding quality repertoire and repertoire selection procedures could also include courses, workshops, and/or webinars for directors to gain further understanding on this topic.