Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

David A. Williams, Ph.D.

Committee Member

C. Victor Fung, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Antoinette Jackson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Clint Randles, Ph.D.


Constructivism, Culture, Ethnography, Higher Education, Music Education, Vernacular Music


The purpose of this ethnographic study was to examine vernacular music making in higher education. The participants, undergraduate music education majors (N=23 for Fall, N=10 for Spring), were investigated throughout the course of the 2012-2013 academic year. A constructivist philosophical framework was applied and data were collected using several methodologies including participant observation, journals, interviews, and audiovisual and multimedia methods. Results showed that students were able to successfully learn, create, and share music in a vernacular manner. Participants took a pragmatic approach to making music. Furthermore, students engaged several aspects of music making they had not encountered in traditional music education. This study demonstrates how traditional and vernacular music cultures can be synthesized; the study also suggests that vernacular music cultures should be further examined and should be made part of the music education curriculum