Fraternal music organizations and their impact on student leadership in college bands
Bratcher, Nicholas O'Brian
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College fraternities and sororities have become cornerstones of undergraduate college life and can be found on the vast majority of college and university campuses in the United States. Among these are fraternal music organizations (FMOs), which introduce undergraduate band students to the fraternal music experience. Many college band directors are “stakeholders” in these organizations, counting on them to develop student leadership in the band members. The purpose of this study was to investigate the nature and function of fraternal music organizations (FMOs) and their influence on student leadership in college and university bands. Three questions guided the study: (1) does the proportion of student bandleaders who are part of an FMO differ from 50%? (2) When the student attributes of gender and class standing are controlled for, is there an association between leadership qualities and FMO participation? (3) With students nested in colleges, is there a difference in leadership qualities between colleges? In addressing data gathered by means of a research survey, a quantitative, correlational design was used to examine the relationship between student traits (gender, class standing, and FMO participation) and leadership as measured by A.M. Black’s (2006) Leadership Measurement Instrument (BLMI) at three levels (individual, organizational, and community). The BLMI was found to be highly reliable and valid, and effectively measured the outcomes of FMOs on the students’ bandleader experience. The population was a total of 152 colleges and universities housing at least two recognized FMOs. The student population within the schools consisted of undergraduate students who held leadership positions in a band ensemble. Findings indicated that: (1) the proportion of FMO student bandleaders was significantly greater than 50%. (2) There was a significant positive relationship between FMO participation and individual leadership scores, organizational leadership scores, and community leadership scores. (3) There was a statistically positive significant difference between mean score variance of student individual and organizational leadership qualities between colleges, but not sufficient evidence of variance between mean scores of student college leadership quality levels between colleges.