Description: This study examines the phenomenon of contemporary a cappella music making found in high school settings as curricular and extra-curricular offerings. Past music and music education literature has focused exclusively on contemporary a cappella at the collegiate level. Through application of a descriptive phenomenological method and incorporation an educational-sociological lens, this study advances an understanding of the educational benefit and social value of membership in contemporary a cappella at the high school level. Six recent members from three regions of the United States provided data through individual open-form interviews in which questions were derived from the participants’ own speech. I incorporated phenomenological reductions and processes to negate researcher bias during data collection, analysis, and the formation of a general structure and constituent meanings of membership in high school contemporary a cappella. Participants utilized traditional music skills, individual talents, conceptions of popular culture and music, and in-group socialization to facilitate music making and reify membership. Expressing the value of group membership, individuals acted to benefit the group by cultivating social bonds, developing and fostering personal/shared connections to songs, identifying and purposing individual talents and skills, and gaining an understanding of each members’ unique contribution to membership. Discussion includes implications for music education and suggestions for future research.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Burlin Sr., Thomas B.