The effectiveness of the music reading program in the Dedham public schools as shown by continuing music activity of high school graduates (1940-1944)
Beattie, Samuel Alexander
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The purpose of this study is to collect, organize and interpret information from the graduates of Dedham high school that will help to: 1. Determine the effectiveness of the music reading program in the Dedham public schools. 2. Determine the extent to which adults use their knowledge of music reading as gained from the regular classroom instruction in general music. 3. Evaluate the music curriculum and to ascertain the need for revising it, using as a basis for this work, the experiences of former pupils. This study is concerned with the opinions of graduates of Dedham high school for the years 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1944, in regard to the music instruction in school and its effect on adult life. The following steps were taken in preparation for this study: 1. Research was made of literature on questionnaire construction. 2. The questionnaire was compiled and evaluated through research in the field of music reading and discussions with music educators. Opinions of music educators were sought so that items they thought significant to the field of music reading might be incorporated in the questionnaire. The research instrument used in this study was a two-page form composed of 19 items. Prior to the distribution of the form a penny post card was sent to 457 graduates of Dedham high school to determine approximately the number of graduates who would cooperate in such a survey. Only 127 cards were returned. The questionnaire was mailed to 500 graduates of Dedham high school on June 5, 1950. A total return of 206 or 41.1 per cent was realized. Tables are constructed to show the analysis of each item on the questionnaire and comparison tables are given to indicate the comparison between the various items and the ability to read vocal music. The tables show many significant factors: 1. The ability to read music directly: a. Influences part singing in church and fraternal meetings. b. Lessens the repetition required for learning a part. c. Increases the ability to sing at sight. d. Increases the ability to understand measure signatures, note and rest values and interpretation symbols. 2. Method used by most graduates to read vocal music is not the syllables as taught in grammar school. 3. Method used by most graduates to read vocal music is "Melodic Line" or "Interval Relationship." 4. Almost three-quarters of the graduates made use of the syllables in reading music when in grammar school. 5. Grammar school study of music reading has not helped develop the ability to read vocal music. 6. Very few graduates learned to read music when in grammar school. 7. One-half of the graduates learned to read music better because of their study outside of school. 8. Insufficient amount of time was spent on music. 9. The ability to read music adds to the enjoyment of performing vocal and instrumental music. 10. The ability to read music adds to the enjoyment of participation in group singing. 11. One-half of the graduates participate in adult sacred and secular choral organizations. 12. Ability to read vocal and instrumental music. 13. The need for music in present day life. 14. Participation in home singing groups. It is the writer's belief that many of the findings revealed through this study give evidence of a continuance of music activity on the part of high school graduates who have the ability to read music. There is also evidence shown for the need of a more effective method of reading music than was employed during the experiences of the group studied. It is not the purpose of this study to determine a new method of teaching the reading of music or to improve the present method. The findings indicate a pertinent need for a better and a more effective method of teaching music reading. Indication also shows that adults use very little of the knowledge of music reading as gained from the regular classroom instruction in general music.
Thesis (Ed. M.)--Boston University, 1950