FINDING RETENTION IN COMMUNITY MUSIC ENSEMBLE PARTICIPANTS - Joshua E. Long Public

We may not know the importance of music in our community until it disappears. Research indicates symphonic performances have a low audience attendance (Kennicott, 2013). Similar challenges occur in the community when adult ensembles also lack participants. It might be a connection between K-12, collegiate, and community music education. Awareness of community music ensembles may also contribute to the overall participation. Reasons ensemble participants might be involved include that they are lifelong learners (Mantie, 2012), want social support (Carucci, 2012), have musician identity (Dabback, 2008), and for musicality reasons (Kruse, 2009). Ensemble satisfaction perhaps leads to the overall level of participation. The purpose of this study was to examine why an adult participant might choose to continue or discontinue their engagement in a community music ensemble. A questionnaire was administered to current and former community ensemble participants from several U.S. states. This descriptive quantitative research addressed what attributes of community music ensemble engagement contribute to participant retention, focusing on ensemble awareness and satisfaction. Results indicated 62.1% of participants in this study indicated no music teacher communicated about community music ensembles. Most participants are involved because of performing, repertoire, and service. Time, money, and obligations was a large deterrent for why participants might not be involved with community music ensembles.

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