Date of Award

Spring 5-2013

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Amanda Schlegel

Advisor Department



The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of socioeconomic status (SES) of students on their instrument choice. Information about SES and instrument choices could be valuable to music educators, especially at the beginning band level. If socioeconomic status affects instrument choice, teachers who recommend instruments to students may more effectively prescribe choices and take considerations for their students. Also, it would be helpful to know if certain students from certain socioeconomic groups are predisposed to certain choices or restrict themselves to certain instruments.

A sample population of band students was taken from two schools. One school had a high population of lower SES students, whereas the other school represented more students from a higher SES level. Students received a researcher-designed survey that included items that gathered information about gender, primary instrument selection, secondary instruments, and influences upon instrument choice. A survey item also asks the student to state whether they receive free/reduced lunch, and this question was used to code surveys into a lower or higher SES group. Results suggest that SES may affect instrument choices among lower SES students, but this may be superseded by gender stereotypes, timbre preference, and/or influence from friends and family members.