Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Joy Faini Saab.


This study uses the qualitative research technique of portraiture to study the songwriting process in elementary classrooms. In chapter one, the author provides a theoretical framework for incorporating the arts and music in general education, and proposes to provide support for incorporating the creative process of songwriting into the elementary curriculum. Chapter two reviews the research literature on the educational and therapeutic uses of songwriting, and published examples of educational applications of songwriting. In chapter three, the methodology of portraiture is explained and four research settings are described, one each in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Maryland. Two of the sites involve visiting songwriters-in-residence, and the other two sites involve regular classroom teachers in educational outreach programs sponsored by professional organizations (Country Music Hall of Fame and Metropolitan Opera Guild). In chapter four, the results of the researcher's observations, interviews, and review of student products are presented as portraits of the songwriting experiences (one for each site). In the final chapter, the author reflects and integrates the four portraits and draws conclusions regarding the four approaches to the songwriting process observed. Inferences from the data are discussed in sections entitled "Collaboration, Cooperation and Engagement," "Voices of the Children," and "Authentic Learning Experiences." The chapter concludes with reflections on the research with recommendations for further study. The researcher suggests that there is sufficient justification, outlined specifically in national and state educational standards, supported by research literature, and brought to life by the experiences and voices of those in the field, to incorporate songwriting into the regular elementary curriculum. Also included are fourteen excerpts from songs written by elementary students, references, and four appendices: interview questions, summary of songwriting pedagogy by site, song topics grouped by theme, and National Standards for Arts Education relating to the songwriting process. (8482 kB)