The purpose of this study was to examine the significance of practice towards beat competency within a short time span. Although beat competency is a major goal in the kindergarten curriculum, only 61% of first graders can perform with underlying beat (Weikart, 1987). The hypothesis of this study was that more time given to practice will improve capability of beat competency, even within a ten week time span.
This study included three levels of practice in three kindergarten classes for a period of ten weeks: one class receiving no music instruction, one class instructed once a week, and one class instructed twice a week. The three classes were pre-tested during the first week of the ten weeks of kindergarten classes and post-tested immediately after the ten weeks of classes. Students were tested individually in bi-lateral symmetrical tapping in three media: (1) pre-recorded instrumental music: Yankee Doodle; (2) speech: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe; and (3) song: Ring Around the Rosy. All students were video-taped. The experimental design was a Likert style analysis of competency with scores ranked, from 0 to 100%:
0=unable to show beat (unusual)
10=responds to fastness or slowness
20=body tapping of some sort
30=can match bi-lateral symmetrical patting, not always with timing
40=own sense of timing
50=can match beat for 8 counts
60=rhythm alternates with beat
70=alternates macro and micro beat
80=matches beat for 12 counts
90=macro beat of half note or micro beat of eight note value
100=beat competent for 16 counts
A t-test for dependent samples was used to evaluate differences between pre and post groups A (no training), B (once a week training), and C (twice a week training) in three media: instrumental, speech, and song.
A t-test for independent samples was used to evaluate differences among pre groups to evaluate the possibility of one group possessing an advanced (or deficient) competency. Similarly, this test was applied to evaluate the differences, after training, among the relevant post groups. The computer program Statistica’ from Statsoft. (1991) was used to analyze the data.
Results from the t-test for dependent samples: (1) In the control group A (no training), no significant improvement at the p<0.05 level was shown in any of the three media: instrument, speech, or song. (2) In the B group (once a week training), significant improvement was shown in the speech category; no significant improvement was shown in the instrument or song category. (3) In the C group (twice a week training), significant improvement was shown in the instrumental and song category; no significant improvement was shown in the speech category. The t-test for independent samples revealed that there were no significant differences among the means of any of the post groups (p>0.05) indicating that all groups achieved a similar level of competency in all three areas.
However, pre-testing indicated that group C began with lower competency than groups A and B. This strengthens the conclusion that group C derived greater benefit from the training than groups A and B. This study lends support to the proposition that increased amounts of beat practice will improve capability in beat competency.