Menard, E. A. (2015). Music Composition in the High School Curriculum: A Multiple Case Study. Journal Of Research In Music Education, 63(1), 114-136.
Student and teacher perceptions regarding composition instruction were investigated using case study techniques in two high school music programs: a general music program providing accelerated instruction to gifted musicians in small classes and a typical performance-based band program. Students in both programs participated in a composition instruction program. Qualitative data included student and teacher interviews, observation, and participant journals. Quantitative data included administration of a composition attitude survey and assessment of student compositions. Analysis of band director perceptions revealed themes identifying challenges to implementing composition instruction: performance culture traditions, time, class setting, teacher preparation, and lack of student fundamental musical knowledge. Teachers in both programs identified benefits as development of student potential, importance of exposure to composition, and increased musical understanding. In the band program, student attitude toward composition increased significantly from pre- to post-instruction, while the general music students, with previous composition experience, showed no change in attitude. Students from both programs identified time as a challenge to composition and also indicated frustration in their lack of fundamental music knowledge. Students identified enjoyment, improved musical understanding, personal expression, increased interest in music, and understanding composition process as benefits to composition experience.