A Mixed Methods Investigation Into Single-Sex Choral Ensembles at the Middle-Level
University of Kansas
Music Education & Music Therapy
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The purpose of this study was to comprehensively examine the frequency of single-sex choirs in middle school music programs, motivations for offering these ensembles, and both strategies for the implementation of and obstacles preventing single-sex choirs at the middle-level. The study merged simultaneously collected data from quantitative and qualitative sources to provide a greater depth of understanding of the research problem, thus aligning with Creswell and Plano Clark’s (2017) convergent mixed methods design. Quantitative data were collected through the Survey on Single-Sex Choral Offerings (SSCO), a nationally-distributed survey disseminated to members of NAfME, TMEA, and state ACDA chapters who also self-identified as middle school/junior high choral music educators. SSCO data were analyzed using descriptive statistical measures. Qualitative data were acquired through interviews of four middle-level choral directors who had recently separated their choirs into single-sex ensembles. Participants were demographically diverse, representing various geographical regions, school settings, type of school, campus socioeconomic status, and teaching experience. Data were transcribed, and coded into mutually exclusive categories, allowing themes to emerge. The findings demonstrated that organizational designs varied among programs, with mixed-voice choirs the most common voicing used by responding choral directors. Director motivations for including either single-sex or mixed-voice choirs encompassed musical, organizational, psychosocial, physiological, and behavioral influences, yet the importance of each varied among those selecting single-sex versus mixed-voice choirs. Directors reported varying ease when facilitating change to include single-sex classes, used a variety of strategies and key players to do so, and experienced similar difficulties when presenting change initiatives. While many of the programs with mixed-voice choirs preferred such designs, responses indicated either an interest or previous attempt by some directors to separate classes into single-sex ensembles. Recommendations for future research, implications for music education, and a conceptual framework for separating choirs into single-sex choirs were discussed, based on the results and responses of participants.
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- Music Dissertations and Theses 
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