Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)


School of Music


William M. Dabback

Gary K. Ritcher

Scott Rikkers


This study investigated the involvement of special needs students in competitive high school marching bands in Virginia. 159 members of the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors who taught high school level band were emailed a survey. Fifty-seven directors chose to participate, which yielded a return rate of 35.8%. The survey examined demographics, classification, participation requirements, special needs participation and individual disabilities. The study concluded that the majority of Virginia marching bands include students with special needs. The research discovered that twelve of the thirteen categories of special needs, as defined by IDEA, were represented in Virginia marching bands. Analyses of free response questions from directors indicate that these students generally have a positive effect on their programs. This study also examined the accommodations made by the participating directors and found similar results among them.