A Case Study Exploring the Integration of Disciplinary Literacy in Music Education

Nita L Smith, Tennessee State University


Public school teachers across all content areas are faced with how to resolve low adolescent literacy rates. The arts curriculum in the United States has experienced multiple internal directives, often by ill-conceived efforts to improve reading scores (Begoray, 2008). Research on disciplinary literacy has been at the center of recent studies that support the adoption of comprehensive literacy practices in classrooms in all content areas (Hillman, 2015). There is a tragic decline in music literacy offerings throughout grade school and high school curriculum offerings. This decline has resulted in a diminishing of the ability of students to read and compose music since the early 1980’s (Henson, 2018). In seeking to contribute to the professional dialogue and inquiry regarding this matter, the goal of this study was to illuminate how disciplinary literacy is perceived in music education. Using a qualitative approach, the researcher incorporated an online demographic survey, semi-structured interviews, collected teacher artifacts and assembled a focus group to induce further inquiry. Primary analysis of interview data of seven music teachers at an afterschool music academy were returned to the participants for review and additional commentary. It is hoped that the findings in this study will promote greater levels of student music scholarship that reflects the demands required in reading and writing experiences through the discipline of music while also strengthening the literacy skills of K-12 learners in general.

Subject Area

Curriculum development|Music education|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

Nita L Smith, "A Case Study Exploring the Integration of Disciplinary Literacy in Music Education" (2022). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI28970808.