A comparison of retention rates of adolescent males in all-male and mixed gender beginning choral ensembles
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Recruitment and retention of adolescent male singers in choral ensembles is a problem facing music educators across America. Middle school programs have slowly transitioned to include all-male ensembles in seventh and eighth grade, but there are still questions as to whether the beginning choral experience should also be gender-based. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between adolescent male retention rates and gender composition of sixth grade choral ensembles (mixed gender vs. all-male). Subjects included middle school choral directors (n = 63) representing various geographic areas of Texas. Surveys were distributed online to determine program retention rates, ensemble organization, and pedagogical techniques for working with adolescent males. Results indicated a positive correlation between a choral program's male retention rate and all-male sixth grade choral ensembles. In addition, respondents provided a list of sixth grade male choral repertoire and pedagogical techniques for all-male choral ensembles.