Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. David Bennardo

Second Advisor

Dr. Kristi Keingstein

Third Advisor

Dr. Joseph Owens


Lowel Mason highlights the importance of integrating music learning into the curriculum alongside other fundamental skills such as reading, promoting his belief in the transformative power of music education and its impact on child development. Mason stated, “Children must be taught music as they are taught to read” (Pemberton, 1992). The benefits of music extend beyond mere enjoyment among children, as they actively participate in class by singing, dancing, and playing instruments. The arts offer cognitive benefits that extend beyond student engagement, and researchers continue to explore the association between music and academic achievement. Participating in a string orchestra or concert band provides children with a sense of teamwork. Similar to the contributions of a defensive player on a soccer team, each member of an instrumental group provides a critical role in the overall success of the entire group. These contributions give students ownership over their own learning and create greater opportunities for children to demonstrate success. Researchers continue to examine the perceived connection between music and intelligence, demonstrating a range of possible explanations and opportunities for expanded discussion and future research. While there are clear examples that children with music education outperform their non-musically trained peers, attempts to account for this among researchers remain inconsistent. Parent engagement and their partnership with a school certainly may contribute to student achievement as well. On one hand, ensuring that music remains part of the instructional program is supported by legislation; on the other, parent engagement varies widely, and government doesn’t appear poised to begin legislating whether or not a parent reads emails from their teacher or double-checks that their child completes their homework each night. On the Federal level, Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) establishes music as part of an educational program. Locally, this has not translated to music becoming front and center in schools. In fact, in my 11 years as a New York City Principal, funding was a major hurdle in starting an instrumental music program. For this study, I will examine parent involvement and identify preferred types of involvement of middle school students that play an instrument compared to those who do not. To examine this, middle school parents of a Long School District will be surveyed to identify their preferred type of parent engagement.