The Musical Aptitude Profile (MAP) is a standardized test written by Dr. Edwin Gordon (1988). It is used to test a person’s aptitude for music via his or her ability to audiate, or use inner hearing skills. The test is normed so it can be used by school-age students beginning in the fourth grade. Gordon has also authored a curriculum made up of a hierarchy of tonal and rhythm patterns and exercises to improve students’ audiation skills. He based the curriculum on his music learning theory, and called the patterns Learning Sequence Activities.
The MAP test results from over 2,000 fourth grade students were analyzed for this study. Only the data from the total tonal imagery test made up of melody and harmony subtests, and the total rhythm imagery test made up of tempo and meter subtests were used. A survey was drafted and sent to the music teachers of the fourth grade students. The survey questions asked how frequently Gordon’s Learning Sequence Activities patterns were used, how strictly the order of patterns as prescribed by Gordon was followed, and whether music skills and concepts were introduced other than during the time devoted to the patterns. The teachers’ answers to the survey questions served as a basis by which student test results were grouped into the appropriate student experience categories investigated in this study.
Since the test results were available separately for tonal and rhythm scores, and could be analyzed for each of the three questions investigated in this study, a total of six groups of data were derived. The data for each group of data was disagregated into quartiles using a crosstabulation analysis. The chi-square test of independence was then run to evaluate significance. District-wide quartiles were also compiled and reported for both total tonal and total rhythm test results for the purposes of reference and comparison.
The results of this study do not conclusively prove that higher than average MAP test scores can be derived by one certain set of student or teacher behaviors regarding Gordon’s Learning Sequence Activity patterns. Only two of the six groups of data showed significance at the p < .5 level. Those were in the rhythm scores based on the question regarding the frequency of pattern use, and in the tonal scores for the question dealing with the introduction of skills and concepts to students prior to those skills and concepts being presented in the patterns.
Based on the results of this study, students’ overall MAP test results did not appear to be influenced by any of the variations in delivery and practice of Learning Sequence Activity patterns investigated in this study. Additional study is needed to determine what variables other than those explored in this study influence student MAP performance. It is recommended that future studies might focus not only on behaviors related to the delivery of the Learning Sequence Activities, but the non-musical behaviors of the teachers and learners as well.