Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Music

First Advisor

Cormac Cannon


As the leader of the instrumental ensemble, the conductor’s role is important on and off the stage. Public school conductors have especially demanding jobs because they must act as a conduit between composer and ensemble as well as handle all administrative duties pertaining to running a music program. Subsequently, this results in a heavier workload than the average teacher. The demanding workload can add to any preexisting issues for disabled ensemble conductors who struggle at work due to insufficient support from their administrators. The lack of strong administrative support for disabled or impaired faculty and staff may be due to unfamiliarity with how to properly support disabled or impaired personnel. Using a qualitative study design in the form of narrative inquiry and autoethnography, the researcher explores the elements which create a positive workplace environment for instrumental ensemble conductors. The sample included six public school instrumental ensemble conductors who identify as having a disability while maintaining a healthy working relationship with their administration. The inquiry showed that while most participants were initially apprehensive about disclosing their disabilities, the level of compassion, trust, and freedom shown by their administrators allowed them to easily receive necessary accommodations either via self-accommodation or school provided accommodations.


© 2023, Lia Alexandria Patterson Snead