Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2013

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Don D. Coffman

Second Advisor

Kevin Kastens


The purpose of this study was to examine student section leaders and their leadership practices in collegiate marching band organizations. Through the use of the Student Leadership Practices Inventory (SLPI), the study surveyed members and staff of five collegiate marching bands: band directors, assistant band directors, graduate teaching assistants, student leaders, and student followers (N=447). In addition to the SLPI, a Marching Band Leadership Practices Questionnaire was completed by the marching band directors to gain insight about each marching band organization used in this study and to determine whether the marching bands practiced distributed leadership.

The SLPI assessment tool measured five leadership practices to identify exceptional student leaders through a 360-degree feedback survey process: Challenge the Process, Inspire a Shared Vision, Enable Others to Act, Model the Way, and Encourage the Heart. Increased understanding of student leaders and the five leadership practices in marching band could inform the organization's process of selecting leaders.

Student follower evaluations indicated a significant difference among the five practices, showing that Enable Others to Act was the least effective practice and Model the Way was the most effective practice for student leaders. Independent Samples t-tests of Student Leader vs. Student Follower SLPI scores showed that student leaders often perceived themselves displaying higher levels of leadership practice than did their student followers. Results indicated a significant difference for student follower characteristics and perceptions of student leaders: gender, music major status, and years of participation in a collegiate marching band. Results from the Marching Band Leadership Practices Questionnaire indicated that the student leaders in all five universities interact together with other leaders in a marching band, which is an important feature of distributed leadership.


Band, Leader, Marching, Perceptions, SLPI, Student


x, 171 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 166-171).


Copyright 2013 Duane Warfield

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