Effects of Curricular Content on the Choral Music Preferences of Adolescents
AuthorDodd, Jennifer Marie
AdvisorReynolds, Alison (Alison M.)
Committee memberSheldon, Deborah A., 1958-
Dilworth, Rollo A.
Klein, Michael Leslie
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/1111
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThe purpose of this research was to investigate factors affecting choral music preferences of adolescents. The rationale for this research comes from the importance of teaching culturally diverse music in 21st-century music classrooms and the possibility that curricular content and ethnic identity may affect preferences for this music. Six research questions guided the study: (1) How are middle school students' preferences for choral arrangements of folk music grouped? (2) Is there a significant main effect of type of curriculum content instruction on middle school choral students' choral music preference scores? (3) Is there a significant main effect of time on middle school choral students' choral music preference scores? (4) Is there a significant type of curriculum content by time interaction? (5) Descriptively, within each ethnic group, does strength of identity relate differently to growth in scores in different interventions? (6) How do middle school students describe their reasons for their preference? One hundred and thirty-two sixth, seventh, and eighth grade chorus members (11 to 15 years old) participated in the study. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups receiving different curricular content: music concept-based, sociocultural-based, or discussion-based. At the outset of the study, all subjects took a measure of ethnic identity. Two weeks later, all subjects took a preference pretest of eight music excerpts from choral arrangements of folk songs originating from the following cultures: African, American, Asian, and Latin American/Caribbean. One week after their pretest session, subjects took a posttest while simultaneously receiving one of three interventions based on one of three approaches to curricular content. Two factors emerged from principal axis factor analysis of pretest scores. The first factor (simple texture subscale) included arrangements of folk songs with simple unison or predominantly homophonic vocal textures. The second factor (complex texture subscale) included arrangements of folk songs with complex polyphonic vocal textures. A split-plot ANOVA analysis revealed no statistically significant main effects of intervention or time, and no statistically significant interaction of intervention and time for the simple texture subscale. A second split-plot ANOVA revealed no statistically significant main effects, but a statistically significant interaction of intervention and time for the complex texture subscale. A regression analysis revealed that adding ethnic identity scores to preference pretest scores did not help predict to a significantly better extent posttest scores for any of the three intervention groups. Subjects' open-ended responses were placed into one of four categories: musical, sociocultural/linguistic, affect, or perception of performance. Subjects in the sociocultural-based group wrote more sociocultural/linguistic comments than subjects in the other two groups, and subjects in the discussion-based group wrote more affect comments than subjects in the other two groups. Subjects in all three groups seemed to lack the musical vocabulary to describe why they liked or disliked the selections. Comments about perception of performance most often referred to subjects' perceptions that singing songs with complex textures or songs in a foreign language would be too difficult for their chorus. Numerous factors interact to affect music preferences. By continuing to study their students' music preferences, general music teachers and choral directors can gain further insights into how to best approach culturally unfamiliar music. Using a combination of music concept-based, sociocultural-based, and discussion-based curricular content may be an answer to ways to foster positive preferences for culturally unfamiliar choral music. Focusing on curricular content is important; however, general music teachers and choral directors may find success by initially introducing students to culturally unfamiliar choral music with simple vocal textures before songs with complex vocal textures.
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