Graduate Student Research Showcase – Abstracts

–featuring graduate student thesis and dissertation research–

Tuesday, February 15, 2022; 1:00-3:00 pm

Ben Herrick

PhD dissertation:  An examination of relationships between ear- playing skills and intonation skills of high school and college-age wind instrumentalists

Ear-playing has a long history in music education, gaining legitimacy in 1994 when MENC (now NAfME – National Association for Music Educators) released the National Standards of Music Education (revised in 2014) that included nomenclature suggesting that ear-playing is an important skill for student musicians. Additionally, there is myriad research investigating the benefits of ear-playing in music education, showing both musical and extra-musical benefits. Of the musical benefits that ear-playing skills has been shown to offer, the correlation between playing a wind instrument in tune and playing by ear has rarely been addressed. This study will investigate the relationship between ear playing ability and intonation performance of college and high school wind musicians. A combination of previously proven testing procedures and advanced technology will be used for data collection and analysis. Participant’s audio will be recorded while performing a series of test to determine their ear-playing ability as well as their intonation accuracy and used for analysis. Ear-playing ability will be determined by the amount of attempts it takes to replicate two short melodies. Intonation will be determined by using a frequency analyzer, converting predetermined performed notes into cent deviations from the given piano equal tempered tones. Additional information will be collected to investigate other possible relationships to ear-playing and intonation, including private lessons, years of experience, and other musical experiences. Statistic procedures to be used include Pearson’s r, Dependent/Independent T-Tests, and one-way ANOVAs. 

Carlye Latas McGregor

MM ThesisTeachers’ and Students’ Perceptions of Goal Orientation Theory in Secondary Instrumental Music Classrooms: A Case Study

Goal orientation theory is a cognitive theory that identifies how goals affect motivation in students. Its effect on student motivation has been observed in many classrooms over the last several decades. The benefits of mastery goal orientation on student motivation and participation have been well documented. We know from research that students can pick up on goal cues and identify traits of each theory apparent in their classroom. Teachers communicate their values through goal structures, and student motivation can be improved by consistent goal structures, or negatively affected by misaligned goal structures. There are more questions to be answered regarding this theory and its occurrence in large ensemble instrumental music classrooms. The performance-based nature of large ensemble instrumental music education could influence the perception of goal theory in these learning environments. The purpose of this study is to observe teacher and student perceptions of goal orientation theory occurring in the secondary instrumental music classroom. Teachers and students in two secondary instrumental music programs were interviewed and observed regarding goal orientation theory and its presence within their classrooms. Major questions guiding this inquiry were: do teachers’ perceptions of their goal orientation theory match with observable characteristics of goal orientation theory; and can students accurately identify the goal structures present in a secondary music classroom by identifying traits of an average class period?

Jacob Peterson

MM Thesis Music Making and Learning in a School for the Visually Impaired: A Case Study

The purpose of this case study is to investigate the methodologies and experiences of teachers at a school for the visually impaired. This will be followed by a discussion of those teaching methods, if they can translate into a sighted music classroom and if so, how they might benefit sighted music education classrooms. Data collection will include interviews and observations with field notes with two teachers at LSVI (one music and one non-music teacher) and an interview with a member of the administration. The semi-structured interviews and observations will take place in three phases: 1) preliminary interviews in which the participants will answer questions about goals for their classrooms, background information, common strategies/ methods/tools that they have at their disposal, 2) observations of a class with each of the teachers, 3) follow-up interviews with the teachers and, if necessary, administration about what they did during their lessons. Data collection and analysis will take place throughout the process via a field journal kept by the observer as well as commentary on lessons by the teachers themselves. Data collection will also include teachers’ reflective commentary on their lessons.

Carla Salas-Ruiz

PhD dissertationA Multiple Case Study on Four Adolescent Piano Students Examining Motivation through the Lens of Interest Development

Interest is a powerful motivational variable that affects student motivation to learn (Renninger & Hidi, 2019). Over the past decades, researchers have thoroughly explored interest development, however, most of the research has been conducted with college students and in academic areas.  The purpose of this study is to use the lens of interest development (Hidi & Renninger, 2006) to examine adolescent piano students’ motivation to practice. Methodology includes using Boeder et al.’s Interest Development Scale to identify two [ages 13-16]   students in the triggered-situational interest development phase, and two [ages 13-16] students in the maintained-situational phase of interest development. Over a period of six weeks, the researcher will conduct semi-structured interviews with students, students’ teacher, and students’ parents, ask the participants to record their piano lessons and practice sessions, and to complete a practice journal regarding their interest to practice. This work will examine participants’ psychological needs, general musical behaviors, existing self-regulating behaviors, and goals setting through the lens of interest development. Music teachers will benefit from better understanding adolescent music students’ interest development and the underlying mechanisms that prompt it, or sustain it to foster motivation to practice. Findings will be applicable to various music teaching and learning settings, beyond the private studio.

Jennifer Webber

MM Thesis:  Use of Rhythm Video Games as a Tool for Rhythmic Listening in Elementary School Music Students

Since their inception, video games have always held a place in pop culture, and their popularity and prominence has seemed to only grow. Additionally, more and more are teachers encouraged to incorporate technology into their classrooms, as well as incorporate things into the curriculum that reflect the experiences of their student population. The inclusion of video games meets both of these requirements, but how educational can video games be? And do video games have a place in the music classroom? Research suggests the educational power of video games lies in their ability to motivate students and present content in a fun way. Rhythm games are a genre of video game where the focus is on music. The gameplay requires moving or tapping along to the rhythm of a song, with the goal of obtaining a high score based on how accurately the player performs the rhythm. These games use audio and visual cues to assist the player in performing the rhythms correctly. Previous research on rhythm games suggests that musical skills and notation literacy can be improved by playing these games. This paper will discuss the place that rhythm games potentially have in the elementary general music classroom as a supplementary material for teaching rhythms, keeping in line with the “sound before symbol” approach used in methodologies such as Kodaly, Orff Schulwerk, and Music Learning Theory.