Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Tom Hall


Musical groups--Psychological aspects; Belonging (Social psychology); College students--Social networks--Middle West;


“We believe in the power of music to uplift, to inspire, and to help make the world a better place.” These words, from the mission statement of an all-men’s choir at a mid-sized Midwestern university, accurately reflect the attitude that many people have toward music. Music ensembles, both vocal and instrumental, often have a very profound impact on their members, emotionally, socially, and even academically. For college students in particular, these organizations can provide a social structure and support group that helps with the transition from high school to college and helps students deal with homesickness and the unfamiliarity of a new environment.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) has provided significant research into student involvement and the positive contribution it has to a student’s success in college. However, little qualitative research has been performed to support this data and share individual stories about student’s involvement and why it has contributed to their success. The purpose of this study was to examine how participation in college music groups contributes to a student’s socialization within the college environment, identity with the university, and transition from high school to college. The results of this study fill the gap and provide qualitative data about the value of student music groups and their contribution to the success of their members.

The central research question for this study was, “How does participation in student music groups contribute to a student’s transition from high school to college and connection to their university?” The study focused on student socialization, transition from high school to college, social support, and friendships. Other central themes that came up throughout the study included important skills gained from participation in the organization, homesickness, and friendships with other members of the ensemble.

Year of Submission



Department of Communication Studies

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

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