Theses Doctoral

Singing Our Songs in a Strange Land: A Phenomenological Study of Black Male Music Educators

Mallette, Wayne

This hermeneutic phenomenological study explored the lived experiences of five Black male music educators (BMMEs) in the northeastern United States. Of the four million educators across the country, recent studies show that only 1.9% identify as Black males, which is a decrease from six percent in 2008. The purpose of the study was to gain a deeper understanding of the influences and lived experiences of these Black male music educators, with the goal of creating music educational spaces within schools that better support Black male musicians. The researcher conducted a series of three interviews with each educator, which focused on their K-12 formative musical experiences, their collegiate music education, and their work as classroom music educators. In addition to two focus group sessions with the five educators, the researcher conducted three teaching observations. The theoretical framework for this study was Critical Race Theory.

The study took place in the span of four months in the fall of 2022. The interviews and classroom observations were analyzed by finding themes within them and reading them in the context of the entire interview to gain a deeper understanding of the lived experience of the participants. The findings illustrated the participants’ lived experience through a series of primary themes: family support, strong mentors/teachers, talent identified by others, resilience, isolation, Black church music influence, high expectations in teaching, and creating community.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Parkes, Kelly A.
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
May 24, 2023