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

Charles Wyatt
Seth Taft

Limestone University professor Dr. Seth Taft recently had his work published in the Journal of Research in Music Education.

The article, titled “Music Teacher Roles Stress: A Structural Equation Model,” is yet another piece of research conducted by Taft that focuses on the stresses of being a music teacher. In this paper, Taft looks at different role stressors that are related to an individual’s position within the organization where they work.

The methodology used by Taft had initially been used for workers in general before being adopted by researchers to evaluate role stresses within the teaching field more specifically. Taft set out to pinpoint the framework even further and see if it would be a useful tool to evaluate music educators. 

“I was a band person who found himself teaching choir, and I was curious to see how outcomes differ for people in roles they aren’t trained for,” he explained. “At some point, I landed on ‘stress’ as a proxy for that. The more I looked into stress, I saw interesting ideas, but no one was getting to the structures of what was causing stress.” 

The research utilized questionnaires that were sent out to music educators across the country, with a total of 1,576 middle and high school teachers participating. Each answered questions based on their experience with five identified stressors: role conflict/ambiguity, role overload, underutilization of skills, resource inadequacy, and nonparticipation in decision-making and expectation-setting for their role. 

The analysis of these responses showed that there is a connection between role stress and negative occupational outcomes such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and intent to leave. While these results are important, Taft clarifies that more research will be needed to determine the more precise relationships between these outcomes and role stress, as well as the way other types of stress may interact with variables within this model. 

Still, it is reasonable to expect role stress to have some impact on the way people report feeling about their occupations. Therefore, Taft notes, it is important for music teachers, department heads, and administrators to work together to alleviate that stress whenever possible. In addition to those stress-reducing changes, it is also vital that educators help prepare student-teachers for stress-related issues to help prolong their careers after graduation. 

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.