Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Josef Hanson


The purpose of this narrative inquiry was to understand the ways Black choral conductors negotiated racism and nonculturally-relevant choral music leadership in the United States. I sought to address the following research questions: (a) How do Black choral conductors experience racism in choral settings?; (b) How do Black choral conductors describe an ideal culturally relevant–led choral music setting?; and (c) How have their experiences influenced or informed their decisions as choral conductors today? Using critical race theory (CRT) and culturally relevant leadership learning model (CRLL) as the macro-level theoretical lenses and narrative inquiry as the methodology, I sought counternarratives to amplify the stories of Black choral conductors by engaging in conversations centered around racism and nonculturally-relevant leadership in choral settings. I employed purposeful sampling to select three participants who identified as Black choral conductors working in K-12 and higher education settings. The three participants engaged in two ninety-minute, semi-structured interviews. Using thematic analysis techniques, I identified themes that illustrated patterns in the data. Findings reflect the following themes as they pertain to the research questions: (1) navigating racism through developed resilience and resistance, (2) navigating racism through familiarity with Eurocentric music-making practices, (3) culturally relevant–led choral music settings go beyond the surface level of knowing the people led, and (4) Black life experiences influence the use of voice and desire to liberate others. Findings suggest the importance of incorporating the culturally relevant leadership learning model in choral conducting pedagogy. Results may help choral conductors, music educators, and music training environments to rethink, reimagine, and reconceptualize choral music leadership.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access