The lack of consistent elementary musical education in the United States has sustained a steady demand for private music instruction. Private instruction, however, does not usually align with the general music education standards, or the school requirements. There is a lack of research about private music instructors’ role in music education for elementary-aged students. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences and teaching strategies of private music instructors who supplement elementary students' school-based music education. The two research questions were

RQ1: What are the experiences of private music instructors who supplement elementary students' school-based music education?

RQ2: What are the teaching strategies used by private music instructors who supplement elementary students' school-based music education?

The theoretical framework of this study was based on the California Music Standards, and the methodology was qualitative phenomenology. Four topics were discovered through the literature review process: music education and mathematic disciplines; music education and cognitive benefits; music education and student engagement; music education and accessibility.

Participants were chosen through a convenience sampling procedure. Five private music instructors answered open-ended questions in one-to-one Zoom interviews lasting 55-90 minutes. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. The data was analyzed using HyperRESEARCH.

The analysis identified seven themes which addressed the two research questions: (a) Private music instructors believe themselves to be the only source of music education; (b) Private music instructors prioritize getting to know their students; (c) Private music instructors believe that music lessons benefits to students can extend beyond music skill; (d) Private music instructors see themselves as significant role models in their students’ lives; (e) Private music instructors rely on individualized teaching strategies and creative approaches; (f) Private music instructors must navigate difficult relationships with their students’ parents; (g) Private music instructors teach to outcomes.

Based on the seven themes, the researcher offered conclusions and implications for educational leaders, private music instructors, and policy makers. A recommendation is made to modify the California Music Standards to help private music instructors integrate them into their instruction

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Music—Instruction and study—Education, Elementary—United States; Education, Elementary—Students—United States

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Paula Thompson