Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Lynn Harrill


The purpose of this study was to investigate how teachers define, teach, and assess musical expression. Moreover, it explored the impact of the standards and accountability movement on the degree to which expressive qualities are emphasized in the K-12 public school music classroom. This work is important for music teachers as it gives voice to the relationship between personal beliefs and external expectations. It is important for educational leaders as they seek to understand and evaluate the effectiveness of music teachers and music programs and because it may provide information relevant to educational reform in curricular areas of study other than music. To better understand the experiences of teachers regarding expressive qualities and how they guide students to develop musical expressive qualities, three South Carolina music teacher-leaders were interviewed and observed. The teachers selected for this phenomenological research were identified by state and local educational administrators as leaders in their fields and they were in a position to influence educational policy through their contributions to state curriculum and standards documents. These teachers indicated that expressive qualities were very important to music teaching and learning and they demonstrated this value through expressive teaching styles in the classroom. It was apparent, however, that there was a lack of continuity between the participants' priorities for teaching and learning and what is stipulated in policy through standards and accountability practices. This research tells their story. It provides a window through which educational leaders and policy-makers might view and better understand essential elements that are valued by teachers that are not easily defined or quantified.