Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Norm Jones


Norm Jones


Robert Parson


Lawrence Culver


Throughout time, music has played a pivotal role in the lives of people. In every country, among every ethnicity, and as part of every culture, music has a presence. Music often acts as a mirror, reflecting aspects of society and history in ways that even the ordinary person can understand. No matter what the form—religious, popular, classical, folk—music has the ability to reveal something about the people who created it, performed it, and enjoyed it. Because of this overarching presence of music in the structure of almost every civilization, it is no surprise that music has always had some part in the way those societies choose to educate their children. Music has long been included in the public schools of the United States, but that history in education is a rocky one—as evidenced by the story above—fluctuating up and down according to the whims of administration, economic situations, educational policies and reforms, and the desires of communities. Music has been continually under pressure to prove its value as an educational subject and hold its own against other subjects and activities despite centuries of evidence in its favor. A study of the music offered in the schools of Preston, Idaho provides an example of how one rural community dealt with these issues, a micro-capture of what was happening in the nation at large with regards to music education. However, because of Preston’s unique location and cultural history, it also offers an opportunity to observe how an individual school’s decisions toward music in the curriculum are effected by the community that produces it, sometimes creating marked contrast to national trends.


This work made publicly available electronically on September 4, 2012.

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