Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Music Education and Music Therapy (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Carlos R. Abril

Second Committee Member

Don D. Coffman

Third Committee Member

Stephen F. Zdzinski

Fourth Committee Member

Corin T. Overland

Fifth Committee Member

Elizabeth Harry


The expanding social worlds of middle childhood prompt children to evaluate and explore their sense of selves to better understand who they are and where they fit in (Erikson, 1968; Josselson & Harway, 2012). Children born in the USA to at least one foreign-born parent, also known as second-generation immigrants, often straddle multiple cultures, making their social contexts highly diverse and their explorations of identity complex (Sebastian, 2008). This collective case study focused on the home musical lives of four second-generation children in Miami, Florida, USA to gain greater insight into music’s meaning in their lives and the role it plays in the negotiation and construction of their identities. Data were collected through observations and semi-structured interviews in participants’ homes and communities and analyzed through the constant comparative method (Glaser, 1965). Examining children’s musical experiences in the different contexts of their lives, as both music makers and music listeners, provided insight into the meaning and value of their experiences as well as the ways they explored and expressed their musical and cultural (i.e., youth, ethnic, gender) identities. Implications for music teaching and future research are provided.


music education, children's music, children's cultures, musical identity, immigrant children, cultural identity