Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Jennifer Bugos, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James Bass, D.M.A.

Committee Member

Janet Moore, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Anat Pollack, M.F.A.

Committee Member

David Williams, Ph.D.


Choir, Motivation, Participation, Retention, Catastrophe Theory, Music Education


Knowledge of motivation factors can assist conductors and music educators at all levels in planning and implementation of musical goals. The purpose of this study was to identify motivational factors to join the choir and maintain membership in the choir as well as the role of stress/anxiety in maintaining choral membership. In addition, the role of musicianship was evaluated in terms of music aptitude and vocal ability. Participants (N=135) from four adult, auditioned community choirs participated in this study. Data was collected using Advanced Measures of Music Audiation, Singing Coach, measure of vocal ability and a questionnaire relating to topics of motivation, retention and stress and anxiety contained within the sub-constructs of Cusp Catastrophe Theory. The results of this study identified aesthetic motivation as the primary construct as to why members elect to join the choir. In direct relationship to this motivation, lack of aesthetic beauty and truth was identified as why members would not retain their membership in the choir. Members did not experience stress and anxiety while learning or performing choral music. However, they did agree that some level of stress is beneficial to singing. In this study, no participant suggested that stress and anxiety related to vocal ability would prevent them from achieving their performance goal. Implications from this research may include determining program literature to be presented that is perceived as having aesthetic qualities which will be beneficial for membership and retention of choir members.