Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


School of Music

Committee Chair

Janet Robbins

Committee Co-Chair

Joy Faini Saab

Committee Member

Paul Scea

Committee Member

Molly A. Weaver

Committee Member

Christopher Wilkinson


The purpose of this study is to examine the acculturation experience of first-generation Chinese American parents and the values that inform their expectations for their children's early childhood music education. A primary goal of this research is to gain a deeper understanding of the interplay of Chinese traditional culture and early childhood music education in the United States. The six participants for this study were first-generation Chinese American immigrants who at the time of the interviews had children under age eight and who resided in Philadelphia. As a qualitative multiple-case study, the primary data for this study were six sets of interviews, each set consisting of three different interviews with each of the six participants. Data were coded through the QSR NVivo software system and were analyzed and presented in the form of narrative portraits. The data analysis revealed four prominent themes that gave a voice to Chinese American parents. These themes included the importance of the traditional concept of guan in Chinese American parenting, the high value that Chinese Americans place on education, the function of music in Chinese culture, and the value of music education as moral cultivation. Considered within the context of the Chinese Americans' acculturation experience, these themes brought to light a number of tensions that Chinese American parents confront in providing for the music education of their young children. More awareness of these tensions will help both early childhood music educators and Chinese American parents build a reciprocal relationship that bridges this "cultural gap" and balances traditional Chinese values with early childhood music education best practices in the United States.