Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Dissertation Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Jacqueline Hodes, Ed.D.

Committee Member

David I. Backer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nancy Witmer, D.M.A.

Committee Member

Mark Gregory Martin, D.M.A.


Undergraduate music peer mentoring is a valuable tool for supporting and retaining first-time, first-year undergraduate music majors. Meaningful and intentional peer mentoring can enable postsecondary music programs to (a) stabilize undergraduate music enrollment by retaining current music majors, and (b) mitigate the effects of undergraduate music applicant fluctuations related to the curricular marginalization of K-12 music education. This mixed methods action research study explores the intersections of peer mentoring and the self-efficacy and retention of first-year undergraduate music majors, utilizing a quantitative online survey and qualitative semi-structured interviews. Alexander Astin’s (1984) theory of student involvement and Vincent Tinto’s (1975) theory of student dropout form the theoretical lens through which the resulting data are interpreted. The results illustrate the impact of peer mentoring on the self-efficacy (e.g., in core music courses) and retention of participants. The data also illustrate the manners in which various characteristics of peer mentoring relationships (e.g., student degree program, primary musical instrument, frequency of in-person and online correspondences between mentors and mentees, etc.) impact the meaningfulness of participants’ peer mentoring interactions.