Limestone's Dr. Seth Taft Has Study Published In Music Education Journal

Charles Wyatt
Seth Taft

Dr. Seth Taft, an Assistant Professor of Music at Limestone University, was recently published in the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education.

The journal article, entitled “A Mixed-Methods Investigation of Migrating Music Teachers’ Job Fit,” looks to explain the various factors that influence thousands of music educators to leave their schools for positions elsewhere.

Most of the research that exists, according to Taft, focuses on teacher attrition, rather than teacher migration.

“There’s a fair amount about people leaving the profession,” said Taft, who is also Director of Instrumental Music Program and Coordinator of Music & Music Education at Limestone. “But this particular group of people who move from one job to another has not been studied very much and has not been separated from the other group.”

For the study, Taft and the rest of the research team contacted K-12 music educators across the United States. Those who fit the necessary qualifications were selected and sent a three-section questionnaire.

The findings suggest that job fit, which Taft defined as “a matter of how well your job fits your skills and interests,” does play a role in whether teachers choose to move to a job at another location. Many of the participants surveyed claim that they fit better in their current jobs than in their previous.

“Job fit happens at different levels,” he explained. “It's about what happens day-to-day in your school, district policies and priorities, state and national laws, and more”.

Taft concluded that teachers don’t necessarily need to leave the profession entirely. In many cases, merely changing locations can improve their experience.

Still, responses from the study suggest that fulfillment of basic needs may ultimately be more influential when music educators are deciding where to work.  “Of course, sometimes it's not just a matter of job fit,” he noted. “Some jobs just don't provide the levels of support needed to stay in the job.”

The research, which was conducted over the course of several months, started while Taft was still in his position at the University of Colorado and was completed after he took his current position at Limestone.


Taft received both his bachelor’s and master’s in music education from Virginia Commonwealth University. After teaching high school band and choir in the state of Virginia, he went on to earn his doctorate in music education from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

He is a member of several organizations, including the National Association for Music Education, the Society for Music Teacher Education, and the American Educational Research Association. He also serves on the Advisory Committee for the Music Educators Journal.