The University of St. Thomas


Bright, Julie

Bright, Julie

An Approach to Developing Musicianship Through Aural Skills in the Second Grade
Julie E. Bright

Developing musicianship in the seven to eight year old child is the focus of this study. The premise that listening is at the heart of successful performance was the driving force behind this project. Three questions anchor the research:

  1. What are developmentally appropriate expectations for listening in a seven to eight year old child? 
  2. Will directed movement activities improves student focus in assigned listening tasks?
  3. Will assigned listening tasks for dynamics, tempo, and articulation improve performance of these tasks?

The goal of the project was to develop the use of ears in concert with eyes and bodies in performance.

The review of related literature has a threefold focus. Listening as a component of musicianship is explored in the beginning of the review. The developmental stages of listening are looked at next. Lastly the research focuses on teaching methods which develop and enhance musicianship through listening.

The actual instruction was delivered during 12 lessons. Data was collected from three teacher developed tests, each given twice, once as a pretest and again as a posttest. Six videotaped movement activities were also used in the assessment process. Two outside raters viewed the videotape and provided feedback on the movement activities.

Three musical elements: dynamics, tempo and articulation were used for the instruction. Results from the data collection were compiled and explained in terms of inter rater reliability in the case of videotaping and percentages of correct answers for written tests. A fourth videotaped portion of the project involved using the three elements listed above in creating a musical setting for a story.

The results of this study underscore the value of including movement in concept development. Children respond well to physical involvement and internalize the learning when movement is included. The use of videotaping in the evaluative process needs to be refined in the hope of obtaining more correlation between raters. Implementing these strategies at an earlier age deserves some attention as well. Whatever the numbers show, the real success of this project has been for the students themselves as they take their musical knowledge into the twenty-first century.

Capstone Advisor
Hilree J. Hamilton