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Middle school students' engagement in music ensembles and their development of social responsibility Della Vedova, Sean


This study explores the role engagement in a school-based music ensemble plays in the development of social responsibility in middle school students. The study involved 9 music students, 18 non-music students, and 5 teachers at a suburban middle school in Coquitlam, B.C. Students were compared using three measures – office referral data, a Social Responsibility Quick Scale, and a moral dilemma writing activity – and were subsequently interviewed to determine their thoughts on how musical engagement in music classes might impact their development of social responsibility. Interviews with teachers focused on activities that they believe foster social responsibility as well as their perspectives on this area of child development. Students are referred to the office for misbehaviour at school, and office referral data for the entire school population revealed that students in music classes are referred significantly less often than students not engaged in music (males p = .001; females p = .005). Musically engaged students achieved higher assessed scores on the Social Responsibility Quick Scale and the moral dilemma activity, but the statistical significance of these relationships is questionable owing to the small sample size. Interviews with students and teachers suggested that public performance, music teacher mentorship, and shared in-group responsibilities contribute to fostering development of social responsibility in music students.

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