Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Amanda L. Schlegel

Advisor Department



At some point during college, most students face conflict when it comes to their choice in major. Indeed, an estimated 75 percent of students change their major at least once before graduating (Gordon, 1995). Specifically in the field of music education, there are instances where at least 50 percent of freshman music education majors do not complete the music education degree through to graduation (Gavin, 2010, p. 94). When considering statistics like these, it becomes obvious that selecting a major has serious implications for the majority of students, not just undecided ones. These students may have difficulty perceiving themselves as music teachers, simply because they have never been given the opportunity to teach prior to college. In fact, even students in undergraduate music education programs are not typically given the opportunity to teach until the last semester of college.

The purpose of this study was to examine the motivations of first-semester freshmen for selecting music education as a major. Based on themes that were found among participant responses, I selected a subsample of these participants. This subsample included those who articulated pre-collegiate teaching experiences as having been significant on their decision. Results indicated respondents who had pre-collegiate teaching experiences described themselves as “educators” in some capacity in much more detail than those who did not. Results from this study also suggest a relationship between students with pre-collegiate teaching experiences and an earlier occurrence of occupational socialization when compared with their peers who did not have those experiences. Of the students who mentioned pre-collegiate teaching experiences in their essays, over half of them described themselves as teachers or having been called to teach.