Do Declining Enrollments Predict Teacher Turnover in Music?

Kenneth Elpus, David S. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential relationship between student enrollment trends in elective secondary music ensembles and music ensemble teacher job turnover. Although student enrollment is widely accepted as an important concern for music educators and a crude proxy measure of music teacher quality, these normative beliefs have not been thoroughly examined empirically. This study tested these beliefs using data from a State Longitudinal Data System to link statewide high school student ensemble enrollment data to teacher workforce data for the academic years 2012 to 2013 through 2019 to 2020. Two-way fixed effects estimators with logistic and multinomial logistic regression showed that decreasing enrollments in high school music ensembles predict music teachers’ departure from the profession. A comparative interrupted time-series analysis showed that a change in music teacher does not significantly affect the future enrollment trend of a high school music ensemble program. An exploratory analysis examining the postteaching careers of former high school music teachers showed that the majority of music teachers who exited the profession earned considerably higher wages in their new careers. The authors conclude by discussing the implications of the results for music teachers, music administrators, music teacher education, and future research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Research in Music Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© National Association for Music Education 2023.


  • attrition
  • music ensemble enrollment
  • music teacher labor market
  • music teachers
  • turnover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Music


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