Psychosocial Benefits to Marching Arts Programs Blog #3 – Good News

Following up on my previous post, I have been writing up my results into a formal paper for publication. I have simultaneously been applying/interviewing with graduate schools. This has been particularly challenging but rewarding. I have found that my project has been a great talking point with the programs I have been interviewing with. The school that I have been admitted to and have decided to pursue, George Mason University, wants to help me to elevate and continue my line of research in the marching arts.

Also following up on my previous post, my project has been accepted as a poster presentation at the American Psychological Association Convention. I have also been accepted to compete in a project oral presentation competition for Division 10, psychology of aesthetic and the arts. Being accepted to present and compete is a huge honor and I am extremely honored for the opportunity.

While I am excited for the opportunity to present, I am nervous about it coming to fruition. Frankly, I am having trouble affording the costs to attend. I may have to withdraw from the competition and send in an absentee poster. I have been looking into attempting to get travel funds. There is a lot of difficulty in that the conference is after my official graduation date. While the poster, the research, and my project are all sponsored and attributed to Pace, this technicality makes me ineligible for a lot of the travel expense aid that Pace provides.

If anyone out there has any advice, please reach out…

Psychosocial Benefits to Marching Arts Programs Blog #2 – Results

It has been an eventful month since my last post. As planned, Dr. Rosenthal and myself conducted Hierarchical Linear Modeling in the statistical program SAS. We have found very interesting results about my sample, the Madison Scouts.

Using SAS, we analyzed trajectories, or patterns, of change over time, on average, for the Madison Scouts members who were participating in my project. We were able to find significant negative linear models for all of my outcomes (resilience, general self-efficacy, marching self-efficacy, goal orientation, and flow), but even more interestingly, we were able to find significant positive curvilinear models for all of the outcomes. Curvilinears are difficult to interpret until one creates figures to see the actual curve.

After creating graphs of all my curves on excel, I was able to see the unique curves for each outcome. For each of my constructs, there is a decrease from the start of the project, then a rebound after one point. After the rebound point, the constructs increase over time until the end of the project. Even though they all show this general pattern, they are unique in that some have differing rebound points, or that some do not increase to a point higher than where they started. Each curve is interesting on its own, but together they tell me a lot about how the Drum Corps season impacted the members of the Madison Scouts psychosocially.

Using my preliminary results, we were able to write up an abstract that I submitted to the American Psychological Association in hopes to present my projects’ finding at the APA’s annual Conference. For now, I am patiently waiting for their response, as well as cleaning up drafts of the manuscript so that we can potentially get it out to possible publishers by the end of January or early February.

Psychosocial Benefits to Marching Arts Programs

My research project, “Psychosocial Benefits to Marching Arts Programs,” explores participants’ psychological growth over time. The marching arts is interesting and unique because it combines the realms of music and sports. Usually music and sports are compared and contrasted to have unique benefits specific to them, but the marching arts has not been included in such research.  The goal of my project is the figure out where the marching arts fit into this hole of research.

I began by reaching out the director of the Madison Scouts, a world class drum corps. World class drum corps is the highest level marching arts one can achieve as a performer. The Madison Scouts were ranked in the Top 12 at wold class finals this past summer. After telling the director about my project idea, I had to ask him if he would be willing to let me conduct my project with the corps over the summer of 2017. He agreed.

Over the summer I conducted a longitudinal survey that spanned 5 time points throughout the approximate 3 month drum corps season. By using a longitudinal design, I was able to track those participating in the program for growth. Specifically I was looking at participants’ resilience, general self-efficacy, marching self-efficacy, goal orientation, and flow.  Each time point consisted of the same measures for each of these constructs. I will statistically analyze change between each time point as well as overall change from start to finish.

Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling, I will be able to answer my question as to if participants are psychologically growing over time. I will also be able to answer my questions about the interactions between my psychosocial variables.

The end goal of this project is to write up a publishable article and to present preliminary findings at a psychological conference. My hope is that this project and future ones in kind can inform the music education funding debate, as well as give more accreditation to school marching arts programs.