Musical and social influences on participation in a LGBA International community ensemble
International Society for Music Education World Conference
Porte Alegre, Brazil
The subject of community music involvement has been an area of research interest in music education. One particular set of participants presently engaged in community music are members of the LGBTQ community. Currently, a small amount of research exists examining LGBTQ involvement in community music performing ensembles. Established in 1982, the Lesbian and Gay Band Association (LGBA) was formed as an organization that promotes music as a medium of communication and stimulating public interest in the unique art form of community band music in the LGBTQ culture. The aim of the present study was to investigate what musical and social factors influence LGBA members to participate in a LGBA community ensemble.
A survey was designed and distributed with permission from the LGBA Board of Directors to all active LGBA performing community ensembles throughout the United States as well as to partner organizations in Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and Ireland. A total of (N=458) LGBA ensemble participants responded to the survey yielding a response rate of 84%. The online survey was designed to gather information pertaining to how influential social and/or musical experiences were on ensemble members’ decision to pursue participation in a LGBA ensemble. Collected demographic information included (19%) of participants were between the ages of 50-55. 43% of respondents indicated that they were a college graduate with a Bachelor’s degree and 44% indicated a level of education with a Master’s or Doctorate standing.
Results indicated that performance opportunity (31%) was the most important factor in their decision to join a LGBA community ensemble followed by musical excellence (23%), a sense of community (20%), promotion of a gay organization (14%), and socialization (10%). When asked to choose what was most important when deciding to participate in a LGBA ensemble, participants indicated that both social and musical reasons were factors in their decision to participate (47%) followed by strictly musical reasons (42%), strictly social reasons (6%), and neither (1%). Other reasons (4%) that participants indicated included- LGBT advocacy, making a political statement, and creating a safe and supportive environment for the members of the LGBTQ community.
Results from the survey indicate that LGBA participants considered both musical and social reasons for participating in an ensemble, but the opportunity to perform (musical reason) was the most important overall factor in their decision to participate. Implications for further research are also discussed.
John Okley Egger and Michael W. Hudson (2014).
Musical and social influences on participation in a LGBA International community ensemble. Presented at International Society for Music Education World Conference, Porte Alegre, Brazil.