Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Karen Buchanan, EdD

Second Advisor

Scot Headley, PhD

Third Advisor

Susanna Thornhill, PhD


This qualitative phenomenological study sought to discover the lived experiences of six music educators in their professional learning. Each of the music educators in this study taught in an Oregon public school and had taken on a leadership role in the 2018 Oregon Music Educators Association (OMEA) conference. This study utilized personal interviews to gather rich descriptions of the unique stories and journeys through professional learning these music educators had experienced. Three significant themes were identified in the analysis process in this study: (a) Participants felt confident in knowing their learning needs for professional growth and were apathetic or resistant to professional learning opportunities offered by building administrators; (b) Participants viewed the observation of other music educators’ work as important for their own professional learning; and (c) Participants in this study regarded meaningful professional learning that impacted their work with music students as self-pursued and self-acquired. Implications from this study suggested that music educators and school administrators increase communication and partner with each other to develop professional learning goals and plans that increase music educators’ autonomy, ownership, and voice in their professional growth. This study offers suggestions for creative solutions that encourage administrators to re-think the conditions and requisites of required professional learning in order to meet the needs of all of their teachers’ professional growth.