Questioning boundaries in traditional music appreciation pedagogy: a study of the effect of an attentive listening-based approach on the music appreciation achievement of college, non-music majors
McNeely, Heather Eaves
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Music appreciation courses have become core components of humanities and education curricula, yet scholars have differed on the definitions, approaches, and goals of such courses. Researchers have investigated the efficacy of various pedagogical approaches to teaching music appreciation; some have attempted to measure appreciation and clarify its definition and goals; others have argued that a traditional approach perpetuates a hidden curriculum of social stratification. The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of an attentive listening-based approach on the music appreciation achievement of college, non-music majors compared to a traditional approach. In this study, indicators of music appreciation included factual knowledge, listening skills, and attitudes. Attitudes were assessed via a Music Attitude Questionnaire, and factual knowledge and listening skills were assessed via a final achievement test. Participants included intact groups of students in two separate classes of a college music appreciation class (N = 110). The researcher taught and tested one class according to a traditional approach, using the textbook Music: An Appreciation (Kamien, 2008) and taught and tested the other class according to an attentive, listening-based approach, utilizing the text Take Note: An Introduction to Music Through Listening (Wallace, in press). Gordon's Advanced Measures of Music Audiation (1989) was administered to all participants at the beginning of the semester. A researcher-designed Music Attitude Questionnaire was administered to all participants as a pretest/posttest and an identical, researcher-designed final achievement test was administered to all participants at the end of the semester. Analysis of variance on participants' final achievement test scores indicated that there was no significant difference between the classes in the areas of factual knowledge and listening skills. Data from the Music Attitude Questionnaire were first subjected to principal components analysis (PCA) followed by independent samples t-tests on participants' posttest responses to questionnaire items identified as reflecting underlying components in PCA. Results of the t-tests indicated no significant difference between the two classes. The sociological implications of music appreciation courses are discussed and suggestions for future research are provided.
Thesis (D.M.A.)--Boston University