The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of specific vocal strategies utilized in the music instruction of second-grade students to increase vocal control thereby improving vocal accuracy. The subjects were 75 students from four second-grade classes. Two classes served as the control group receiving traditional general music class instruction. The experimental group was comprised of the other two classes and instruction included approximately 5 minutes of vocal warm-ups, exploration activities, and experiences to specifically create awareness of the singing mechanism. The remainder of the class time with the experimental group consisted of the same traditional music instruction as received by the control group.
A pretest was conducted to determine the subjects current level of ability followed by a treatment period of 16 class sessions and a posttest. Three areas of vocal control were evaluated in the study: (a) accuracy on tonal patterns, (b) range span limits, and (c) use of the singing voice within a melody. Methods of measurement utilized in the study were computer analysis, a rating scale, and a Range Span Assessment developed by the investigator.
Results from the analysis of the data indicated:
1. A significant difference existed in range span ability between the two groups at the beginning of the study but not in pitch matching ability or use of the singing voice within a melody.
2. No significant differences existed in range span and use of the singing voice between the groups in a comparison of posttest results.
3. Significant differences existed in gain scores between the groups that reflected increased range span and more accurate use of the singing voice within a melody among the experimental group.
4. No significant difference was found in gain scores to support the use of vocal strategies to improve pitch matching although the vocal strategies resulted in a positive significant effect on posttest scores of the experimental group.
Results of the study demonstrated that specific vocal strategies including warm-ups, exploration, and experiences to promote awareness of the singing mechanism utilized in the music instruction of second-grade children (a) increased range span, (b) improved the use of the singing voice within a melody, and (c) had a significant positive effect on pitch matching ability in posttest scores.