Abstract

The purpose of this phenomenological investigation was to examine the lived experiences of undergraduate students serving in leadership roles in college marching bands. Ten student leaders completed written responses to an open set of questions that were then discussed during two corresponding in-depth interviews. The following research questions were addressed: (1) How do student leaders describe their experiences in college marching band? (2) How do student leaders perceive their growth through these experiences? (3) How do students perceive these experiences in relation to their future careers? Our findings indicated that student leaders may gain invaluable experience by adapting and reacting to challenges and reflecting on those experiences in ways that inform future behaviors. These experiences, from students’ communications with directors to opportunities for mentorship between peers, affected their growth in leadership roles. Participants—particularly those who were music education majors—actively used their experiences to build a vision for themselves and their future careers.

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