Analysis of the amount and types of melodic sight-reading methods used by Florida middle school choral directors

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Analysis of the amount and types of melodic sight-reading methods used by Florida middle school choral directors
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Bisco, Allison
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College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
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Gainesville, Fla.
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Abstract:
Sight-reading is an extremely important skill for singers to learn. There are many methods for teaching sight-reading, and it can be difficult for middle school choir directors to decide which one is most effective. A survey containing questions regarding sight-reading methods used, time spent teaching sight-reading, and ratings in the sightreading category at Music Performance Assessments (MPAs) was sent out to Florida middle school choir directors who are members of the Florida Vocal Association (FVA). While there were 71 respondents total out of 363 Florida choir directors who were sent the survey (a 20% response rate), 41 of the respondents met the requirements needed to be included in the study population (N = 41). These directors represent 80 middle school choirs, and they all provided useful information regarding the methods they use for teaching/practicing sight-reading to their choirs. After calculating correlations between factors relating to time spent teaching/practicing sight-reading and the use of movable do solfège with or without hand signs, the conclusion is that there are low correlations between the amount of minutes spent on sight-reading and MPA sightreading ratings or between the use of solfège and MPA sight-reading ratings.
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Music Education terminal project

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AN ANALYSIS OF THE AMOUNT AND TYPE S OF MELODIC SIGHT READING METHODS USED BY FLORIDA MIDDLE SCHOOL CHORAL DIRECTORS By ALLISON BISCO SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE: PROF. RUSSELL ROBINSON, CHAIR PROF. CHARLES HOFFER, MEMBER A PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF MUSIC UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 3 # Acknowledgements Thank you to the faculty of the University of Florida, in particular, Dr. Russell Robinson, Dr. Charles Hoffer, Dr. Timothy Brophy, and Ms. Robena Cornwell. Thank you to Betty Jo Couch with the Florida Vocal Association for all of her help with making this project possible. Thank you to my family, friends, and Brad.

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 4 # TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgements, 2 Abstract, 4 Introduction, page 6 Research Topic, page 6 Significance of the Problem, page 7 The Problem of the Study, p age 7 The Purpose o f the Study, page 8 Research Questio ns, page 8 Delimitations, page 9 Definition of Terms, page 9 Literature Review page 11 Introduction, page 11 Philosophical Rationales, page 12 Theoretical Rationales, page 14 Research Studies, pa ge 15 Methodolo gy and Procedure page 17 Introduction, page 17 Research Participants, page 18 Data Collection, page 18 Reliability and Validity Procedures, page 18 Data Analysis, page 19 Results page 20 Table 1, page 21 Table 2, page 21 Table 3, page 21 Table 4, page 21 Figure 1, page 22 Figure 2, page 23 Conclusion and Discussion, page 24 Appendix A, page 26 Appendix B, page 29 References, page 30 Biographical Sketch, page 34

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 5 # Summary of Project Option in Lieu of Thesis Presented to the College of Fine Arts of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Music AN ANALYSIS OF THE AMOUNT AND TYPE S OF MELODIC SIGHT READING METHODS USED BY FLORIDA MIDDLE SCHOOL CHORAL DIRECTORS By Allison Bisco Decem ber 2011 Chair: Russell Robinson Major: Music Education Sight reading is an extremely important skill for singers to learn. There are many methods for teaching sight reading, and it can be difficult for middle school choir directors to decide which on e is most effective. A survey containing questions regarding sight reading methods used, time spent teaching sight reading, and rating s in the sight reading category at Music Performance Assessments (MPAs) was sent out to Florida middle s chool choir direc tors who are members of the Fl orida Vocal Association (FVA). While there were 71 respondents total out of 363 Florida choir directors who were sent the survey (a 20% response rate), 41 of the respondents met the requirements needed to be included in the s tudy population ( N = 41 ). These directors represent 80 middle s chool choirs, and they all provided useful information regarding the methods they use for teaching/practicing sight reading to their choirs. After calculating correlations between factors rel ating to time spent teaching/practicing sight reading and the use of movable do solfge with or without hand signs, the conclusion is that there are low

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 6 # correlation s between the amount of minutes spent on sight reading and MPA sight reading ratings or betw een the use of solfge and MPA sight reading ratings

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 7 # INTRODUCTION Teaching melodic sight reading to anyone can be a challenging task (Killian & Henry, 2005) but it can be especia lly intimidating for the middle s chool choir director as middle s chool students are undergoing many changes during this time (Demorest, The Challenge of the Middle School Chorus, 2000) With so many methods available to teach melodic sight reading whether it be through the use of solfge note names, or different syllable names, it can be difficult to decide which method to use. There is also the question of how much time is necessary to devote to studying melodic sight readi ng It can be difficult to allot enough time to this practice, especially with the limited rehearsal time many school choir directors encounter. These are the important topics that were be examined in this research study. Research Topic The topic of th is research study is to examine methods of teaching melodic sight reading at the middle s chool level, as well as to examine how much time is appropriate to spend on sight reading during rehearsals. The relationship between the method, as well as the amoun t of time middle s chool choir directors spend on melodic sight reading was compared with the ratings their students received in the sight reading category and the final rating of their Music Performance Assessments (MPA) district adjudications in the 2010 2011 school year.

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 8 # Significance of the Problem According to the National Standards for Music Education having the ability to sight read is mandatory for middle s chool students who are in choir. This means that it is the duty of all choir director s t o teach the skill of sight reading in their rehearsals (The Consortium of National Arts Education Associates, 1994) Teaching a choir to sight read will also instill a sense of confidence in each member (Boyd, 1981) What is the best way to accomplish these standards? With so many methods available with which to teach sight reading comparing success rates among the methods aids in choosing the most effective ones. There is also the question of h ow much time should be devoted to studying sight reading which was another factor examined in this study. The Problem of the Study Sight reading is a vital skill for singers to have, and very often it can be an intimidating subject for choir directors t o approach, particularly in the middle s chool setting. There are many questions th at may ent er the heads of some middle s chool choir directors, such as: 1 What is the best way to teach these students how to sight read ? 1 How much time should I be devoting to practicing sight reading ? 1 Will practicing sight reading affect my students' ratings in the sight reading category at MPA? The goal of this research study is to hopefully have answers to some of these questions.

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 9 # The Purpose of the Study There are two m ain purposes to this research study. The first is to determine what methods of tea ching melodic sight reading by middle s chool choir directors in the state of Florida produced higher rating s in the sight reading category at MPA district adjudications in t he 2010 2011 school year, as well as to determine if the amount of time spent teaching/practicing melodic sight reading affected rating s. There are many different strategies available to instill sight reading skills The second purpose is to simply disc over what types of methods Florida middle school choir directors are using. There are a number of methods available for choir directors to use, including combining these methods. Discovering what methods are already being used can help new choir director s decide what methods to use, and can also provide useful information for veteran choir directors. Some c hoir directors will alter their style of teaching as their MPA adjudication approaches. The Florida Vocal Association makes sight reading books from past MPA adjudications available for choir directors to use with their students. These books contain rhythmic and melodic sight reading examples written both in unison and in parts and some choir directors will use them with their students before their M PA adjudication. Research Questions The research questions guiding this study are: 1. What is the relations hip between how many minutes middle s chool choir directors spent teaching/practicing melodic sight reading with their choirs, and their students'

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # : # rating s in the sight reading category at MPA district adjudications in the 2010 2011 school year? 2. What methods of teaching/practicing melodic sight reading exercises among Florida middle s chool choir directors with their choirs produced higher studen t rating s in the sight reading category at MPA district adjudications in the 2010 2011 school year? 3. What methods for teaching/practicing sight reading are other choir directors in Florida using? Limitations and Delimitations Factors that were not co ntrolled for in this study include choir size, any specific challenges the directors face, total weekly rehearsal time and conditions of the facilities and equipment (such as ensemble room, piano/keyboard, etc.) The type of music normally performed was a lso not covered in this study, both throughout the school year and for the performance portion of MPA district adjudications in the 2010 2011 school year. A ttributes of each director as an educator, including years of experience, success in the classroo m, as well as the director's rapport with the students are also limitations Facts about the choir members' backgrounds, such as how long they've been singing, how many times they were accepted in All State ensembles, and whether they take voice lessons, will also not be taken into account. These factors affect the succes s of any program, but are beyond the realm of the study. All of the data regarding time spent practicing/teaching sight reading and methods used were self reported by each choir director There is no way to control for self reported information because the researcher has to trust that all of the choir directors are

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # ;< # being honest with their answers. There is also the possibility that they could make errors when reporting data. Definit ion of Terms 1. Music Performance Assessments (MPA) Adjudication festivals where choirs throughout the st ate of Florida receive feedback in the categories of performance and sight reading as an ensemble (District MPA 2009 2010, 2010). 2. Florida Vocal Assoc iation (FVA) a division of the Florid a Music Educators Association. T he FVA's main purpose is the support of choral music, as well as general music in secondary schools in the state of Florida (Welcome to the Florida Vocal Association, 2010). 3. Solfge the study of singing where syllables such as "Do," "Re," "Mi," "Fa," "Sol," "La," and "Ti" are used to represent notes (Using Solfge in Practica Musica Activities, 2010). 4. Mov able Do the study of singing where the tonic note of the key is represented by the name Do (Kennedy, movable do 2010). 5. Fixed Do the study of singing where the note "C" is always represented by the name Do ," no matter the key (Latham, 2010).

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # ;; # LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction The argument over which sight reading method produce s the best results has been taking place since the days of Colonial America. (Demorest, Building Choral Excellent: Teaching Sight Singing in the Choral Rehearsal, 2001) The very first method of choral singing is credited to G uido d'Arezzo in the year 1030. H is method, known as "solmization," has many similar characteristics as today's solfge. Slightly different syllables were used: "ut", "re", "mi", "fa", "sol", "la". Guido d'Arezzo also had singers use their hands to del ineate each syllable. Since then, more methods for teaching sight reading have developed, and with these new methods came more disagreements. One can see many common aspects of d'Arezzo's method of solmization in sight reading methods of today. The syll ables used presently do not differ very much from the origina l syllables created by d'Arezzo (Hiley) There are many different methods with which to teach sight reading today, including singing using numbers, note names, neutr al syllables, intervallic reading, and solfge. Curwen hand signs (Rainbow, Tonic Sol fa) and the Kod‡ly method (Ešsze, Houlahan, & Tacka) involve the use of solfge syllables, and are very popular methods among cho ral directors. B ecause there are so many sight reading methods and not many research studies regarding which method produces the best results, many teachers combine aspects of several methods, and the students learn using a variety of sy stem s (McClung, 2001) The wide range of teaching methods has been a very popular topic on which to develop theories, philosophies, and to study. There are many positive benefits to

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # ;3 # examining past ideals regarding educatio n, such as putting these principles to use to become a more effective teacher, reaching students in different ways, and achieving different levels of success. The following two sections contain different views of philosophers and theorists, as well as exa mples of research s tudies regarding both education in general and music education. Why is it important to study sight reading ? According to Demorest, it produces musically independent students (Demorest, 2001). Learning to sight sing a lso gives students the ability to learn music more quickly and with greater accuracy. Studying music thus tends to be more pleasurable for singers (Boyd, 1981) According to the National Standards for Music Education having the ability to sigh t read is mandatory for high school students who are in choir. This means that it is th e duty of every choral director to teach the skill of sight reading in rehearsals (The Consortium of National Arts Education Associates, 1994 ) Teaching a choir to sight sing will also instill a sense of confidence in each member (Boyd, 1981) Philosophical Rationales What is the purpose for having a philosophy regarding education? According to Reimer and Jorge nsen, adhering to a certain philosophy brings a sense of clarity to those teaching practices followed by an educator (Reimer, 2003) (Jorgensen, 2006) Some follow the philosophy of pragmatism, the key interest being the learning process. T he me ans by which the student learns the information is most important. In pragmatism, the scientific method is often emplo yed to determine outcomes of instruction Teachers see students as individuals, and educ ate them on the basis that the world is ever changing

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # ;4 # (Abeles, Hoffer, & Klotman, 1984) Using a pragmatic style of teaching, a choir director could take each student individually and teach sight reading using musical examples from different genres of music, helping the student p roblem s olve throughout each example. Other philosophies that are concerned with evaluation are idealism and realism. Idealists are very interested in imparting to students ideals that are long lasting An idealist would most likely teach students works that are notable for being popular throughout history, pieces by greats such as Beethoven, Brahms, or Schumann. Realists generally believe that things are what they seem to be. Like idealists, realist s would also be more concerned with teaching students works by great composers that have been popular throughout history, as opposed to pieces that have not gained notoriety. A student of a realist teacher would be apt to learn through experience, as oppo sed to only listening to a teacher speak about a piece (Abeles, Hoffer, & Klotman, 1984) One similarity with Elliot's philosophy of praxialism and the philosophy of realism is that much of the focus is placed on experience. A ccording to Elliot, praxialism highlights the fact that there are many layers involved with the process of fully understanding music. Musicianship and listening are skills at the forefront of praxialism, and the students must be active and actually experi ence music to fully develop the se skills An example of a teacher using praxialism in the classroom would be having the students clap and sing simultaneously while sight reading While the praxialist teacher recognizes the importance of experience, growt h and knowledge of each individual is also of priority (Elliot, 2005) (Elliot, 1995).

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # ;5 # Should sight reading be taught with evaluation placed at the forefront of the learning process? Should teachers see students as individuals, or as making up a collective ensemble? These are ideas to be considered by teachers when determining the most effective methods of teaching. Theoretical Rationales Different theoretical rationales have evolved throughout the history of education. One such theory is constructivis m. The constructivist teacher passes much of the responsibility on to the student (ChaillŽ, 2008) (Fosnot, 2005) Ide as develop through the students and through this means of learning new ideas a re possible. While existing ideals are still considered, the idea that teachers tell students what is true and what is n't is not a part of constructivism (Fosnot, 2005) In order for the student to fully unde rstand and apprec iate a concept the student must experience the concept in some way (Brophy, 2000) (Gagnon & Collay, 2001) Teachers can teach students different examples of sight reading using any one method, whi le making the students cognizant as to how this method will help them learn to sight read (Hunkins & Ornstein, 2009). Behaviorism, popularized by B. F. Skinner, and cognitivism, popularized by Jerome Bruner, are two major theories regarding education. Th e behaviorist teacher is concerned with observing bodily responses and base explanations for learning difficulties on these responses. The cognitivist teacher is concerned with how the brain functions when students are formulating ideas and understanding concepts. Other theories include Piaget's Stage Theory, where teachers base their teaching style on the developmental stages of their students, as well as Maslow's and Rogers' psychology based theories that

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # ;6 # emphasize the importance of meeting the individu al's needs (Maslow) and functioning capabilities (Rogers) (Abeles, Hoffer, & Klotman, 1984) Research Studies There are many research studies regarding sight reading particularly examining the question of what teaching method s of sight reading produce the mo st success, and how much time is best to devote to these studies. Some of these teaching methods include "mov able do solfge, mov able do numbers, fixed do solfge, neutral syllables (e.g. "loo"), letter names, and interval s" (Killian & Henry, 2005, pg. 53). A 2 005 study in Texas showed that All S tate choir students who kept the tonic pitch in mind while using hand signs to sight read were more successful (Killian & Henry, 2005) Should Curwen h and signs (Rainbow, 2010) be used in middle s chool or should they only be used in an e lementary setting? According to Gile s, if middle s chool students are already familiar with these hand signs, it makes sense to contin ue to use them and then build on wh at they've already learned (Giles, 1991) Rogers' 1991 study of using color coded notation vs. non color coded notation among 5 th and 6 th grade beginning band students showed that, while students using color coded notation pref erred this method over non color coded notation, there was no statistically significant difference between the two methods with regards to sight reading (Rogers, 1991) Some te achers believe that movable do solfge and the mov a ble do numbers method are the most used sight reading methods (McClung, 2006). Results showed that two methods, solfge and a combination of solfge and Curwen hand signs, were the most effective methods for improving nonmusic majors' sense of pitch in a 1993 study by

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # ;7 # Cassidy (Cassidy, 1993). The other methods being compared were the use of note names and a neutral syllable. In part of a 2005 study Henry and Killian were trying to determine which sight reading met hod was most effective for 200 high s choo l singers from Texas All State Choir camps. Results showed that Curwen hand signs were among the most helpful methods in sight reading practices (Henry & Killian, 2005) Knowing different sight reading techniques is important, b ut how important is it to be a successful teacher of a choir overall? What are the characteristics of a successful choir director? Barresi decided to send questionnaires to choir directors of successful choirs to try to answer these questions. Certain n ecessary qualities, as provided in the answers by these successful teachers, included having the ability to interact with students, having knowledge regarding teaching styles, musical training needed for the particular age group, general knowledge of the s chool, self motivation, as well as other qualities (Barresi, 2000) This list shows that there are many attributes that make up a successful teacher. Examining past research studies is a very effective way of choosing between the many methods available for teaching/practicing sight reading These research studies also have very valuable information regarding qualities of successful teachers, and how one can attain the highest standards of teaching in the music classroom. It is the obligation of teachers to meet their national standards, and examining the facts found in past research studies aids in achieving these goals.

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # ;8 # METHODOLOGY AND PROCEDURE S Introduction This is a descriptive research study. A survey with questions regarding sight reading methods and time spent teaching/practicing sight reading was sent out to 363 Florida choir directors. (This may not represent the entire population of Florida middle school choir directors as it was not clear whether some schools w ere elementary, middle, or high schools from their names, and some directors teach at multiple schools.) Forty one middle s chool choir directors representing 80 Florida choirs responded to and met the requirements for a survey regarding sight reading (Johnson & Christensen, 2008) Several factors were correlated to determine the strength and direction in certain relationships. The first pair of variables included the amount of minutes per week spent teachi ng/practicing sight reading as they related to MPA sight reading and final ratings. The second was between those choirs that used movable do solfge with hand signs and those that did not or used a combination of methods. These two variables were correlated as they related to MPA sight reading ratings as well as MPA final ratings. The third was between those choirs that used movable do solfge without hand signs and those that did not or used a combination of methods as they related to MPA sight reading ratings and MPA fin al ratings. The last correlation calculated was between those choirs that used movable do solfge with hand signs and those that used movable do solfge without hand signs.

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # ;9 # Research Participants The sample for this study includes the middle s chool cho ir directors in the state of Florida who attended MPA district adjudications in the 2010 2011 school year with their choirs answered the survey and met the survey requirements ( N = 41) Through a purposive s ampling technique, the middle s chool choir dir ectors from each of the statewide FVA districts in Florida who participated in MPA district adjudications to receive ratings (as opposed to comments only) in the 2010 2011 school year (District MPA 2009 2010) were sent questi onnaires with questions related to their styles of teaching/practicing sight reading. These contacts were found through the assistance of an FVA employee (District MPA 2009 2010) (Johnson & Christen sen, 2008) Data Collection A questionnaire with open ended and closed ended questions was sent to each of the choir directors involved in the study through www.surveymonkey.com (See Appendix A .) Reliabi lity and Validity Procedures While the information for MPA rating s can be found on the FVA website, question number 11 on the questionnaire is for reliability purposes. Asking each of the middle s chool choir directors their st udents' rating s in the sight reading category at their MPA district adjudications is a way to check the information found on the FVA website. Question number 14 is on the questionnaire for validity purposes. It is the researcher's hopes that those who answer ed "Yes" to the question of whether they would like to see

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # ;: # the results of the study will especially take the time to answer the questions with as much detail as possible, because their answers w ill greatly impact the results (Johnson & Christensen, 2008 ) Data Analysis C orrelational research was conducted in which the correlation coefficient was calculated between several factors. The first was between the amount of minutes Florida middle s chool choral directors spent teaching/practicing sight read ing per week with their choirs in preparation for the sight reading portion of the 2010 2011 MPA district adjudication and the rating s received in the sight reading category of MPA district adjudications in the 2010 2011 school year There were sever al sets of point biserial correlations calculated, the first of which was between middle school choirs in Florida that only used movable do solfge with hand signs and those who did not or those that used a combination of methods when prepari ng for their M PAs adjudications. T he second set was between middle school choirs in Florida that only used movable do solfge without hand signs and those that did not or those who used a combination of methods when prepari ng for their MPAs adjudications. T he third se t was between middle school choirs in Florida that only used movable do solfge with hand signs and those that only used movable do solfge without hand signs when prepari ng for MPA adjudications (Johnson & Christensen, 2008)

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 3< # RESULTS One purpose of this research project was to find out what methods middle school choir directors in F lorida are using. Out of the 80 choir s representing the 41 choir directors who responded and met the requirements for this survey 32 used movabl e do solfge with hand signs only (40%), 8 used movable do solfge without hand signs only (10 %) 2 used numbers only (3 %), 1 used neutral syllables only (1%), and 37 u sed a combination of methods (46 %). Correlation coefficients were calculated to find the relationship between time spent and ratings in the sight reading category and the final rating. In addition to the calculation made to determine this relationship, it was also discovered that 61% of choir directors altered the amount of time they spent t eaching/practicing sight reading with their choirs as MPA adjudications approached (see Figure 1 for this data). Point biserial correlations were also used to determine the relationships between certain methods used and sight reading ratings and final rat ings. All of the calculations ranged from .43 to .25 and yielded no s ignificant results (see Tables 1 4 for calculations). All of the calculations made were taken from choir data since there were more choirs than choir directors, and in some cases the data for three choirs represented one choir director. It was discovered that 91% of choirs using movable do solfge with hand signs received a sight reading rating of Superior. 59% of these choirs received a final rating of Superior. This is a 41% dif ference in the sight reading ratings and a 34% difference in final ratings of the choirs that used movable do solfge without hand signs (see Table 4 for data).

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 3; # Table 1: Correlation coefficients of amount of minutes spent practicing sight reading per wee k versus sight reading ratings and final ratings r for sight reading ratings = .04 r for final ratings = .05 Table 2 : Data as it relates to choirs that use movable do solfge with hand signs Number of choirs % of choirs that received a sight reading rating of Superior % of choirs that received a sight reading rating of Excellent % of choirs that received a sight reading rating of Good % of choirs that received a final rating of Superior % of choirs that received a final rating of Excellent % of choir s that received a final rating of Good r for sight reading ratings between table subject choirs and all others r for final ratings between table subject choirs and all others 32 91% 9% 0% 59% 41% 0% .22 .08 Table 3 : Data as it relates to choirs that use movable do solfge without hand signs Number of choirs % of choirs that received a sight reading rating of Superior % of choirs that received a sight reading rating of Excellent % of choirs that received a sight reading rating of Good % of choirs that received a final rating of Superior % of choirs that received a final rating of Excellent % of choirs that received a final rating of Good r for sight reading ratings between table subject choirs all others r for final ratings between table subject choirs and all others 8 50% 50% 0% 25% 62.5% 12.5% .22 .25 Table 4 : Data as it relates to choirs that use movable do solfge with hand signs versus choirs that use movable do solfge without hand signs Percentage of choirs using hand signs that received a sight reading rating of Superior Percentage of choirs using no hand signs that received a sight reading rating of Superior Percentage of choirs using hand signs that received a final rating of Superior Percentage of choirs using no hand signs that received a final rating of Superior r for sight reading ratings for choirs using hand signs versus choir s using no hand signs r for final ratings for choirs using hand signs versus choir s using no hand signs 91% 50% 59% 25% .43 .34

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 33 # Figure 1: The number of Fl orida middle school choir directors who practice d the same amount of minutes per week throughout the school year versus the Florida middle school choir directors who change d the amount of minutes per week that they practice d as MPA adjudications approached <# 6# ;<# ;6# 3<# 36# 4<# -=>?@#,?@ABC>@D#E=>#F@GBC?BAH# C=A#&GIA#!I>JKC#>L#*?KJCAD# FA@#EAAM#!NN#%AG@# -=>?@#,?@ABC>@D#E=>#-=GKOAH# C=A#!I>JKC#>L#*?KJCAD#FA@# EAAM#GD#*F!#!PP@>GB=AD#

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 34 # Figure 2 : Sight reading methods employed by Florida middle school choirs <# 6# ;<# ;6# 3<# 36# 4<# 46# 5<# *>QGRNA#,># &>NLSOA#E?C=# /GKH#&?OKD# *>QGRNA#,># &>NLSOA#E?C=>JC# /GKH#&?OKD# TD?KO#"JIRA@D# TD?KO#"AJC@GN# &UNNGRNAD# ->IR?KGC?>KD#

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 35 # CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION For this particular set of data, time spent practicing/teachin g sight reading did not have much of an effect on sight reading in the MPA sight reading category. The reason for this lack of effect is unknown, but it could be due to several factors many of which were listed in the "Limitations and Delimitations" section of this report Out of the 80 choirs representing this stu dy, 64 received ratings of Superior, 15 received ratings of Excellent, and one received a rating of Good in the sight reading category at MPA adjudication s Perhaps the reason that the time spent practicing/ teaching sight reading did not a ffect ratings is because the sight reading group adjudications lack a degree of difficulty that would result in a lower number of choir s receiving a Superior rating. There were a greater number of choir directors who altered the amount of time they spent teaching/pract icing sight reading as MPA adjudications approached than those who said they spent the same amount of time throughout the school year. This shows that many choir directors are inconsistent with the time they devote to sight reading throughout the year. T his could be for a number of reasons, including a high number of concerts/performances throughout the year, short weekly rehearsals, or possibly some directors might not view sight reading as an integral part of choir rehearsals. The low correlation betwee n ratings in sight reading category versus overall ratings could be for several different reasons. One could be that there is some disconnect between the level of difficulty of the performance section of the MPA adjudication and the sight read ing section. It is also possible t hat some choir directors are spending too much time on one area and neglecting the preparation needed for the other section of the adjudication.

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 36 # Very important information regarding sight reading methods used was discovered as they r elated to MPA ratings. Of all of the sight reading methods that were used alone, movable do solfge was by far the greatest. There were 41% more ratings of Superior in the sight reading category and 34% more final ratings of Superior for those choirs tha t used movable do solfge with hand signs versus those that used movable do solfge without hand signs. This increase could be due to the visual and kinesthetic cues associated with hand signs that may help students better understand solfge. There is al so a question of whether sight reading should be taught the same way throughout the school year or there should be some adjustments the closer the MPA adjudication gets. Of all t he choir directors who responded to the survey only four stated that they alt ered their methods of teaching/practic ing sight reading. These four choir directors represent six choirs, four of which received ratings of Superior and two of whic h received ratings of Excellent (see Appendix B for comments ) Perhaps future research need s to be devoted to whether the key to sight reading success lies in individual study, rather than group study (as in a choir). It is also possible that none of the factors discussed in the survey truly affect a choir's ability to sight read. Perhaps more individual attention paired with a more difficult sight reading adjudication will unveil the key to sight reading success.

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 37 # APPENDIX A Comparing Methods of Teaching Sight Singing Among Middle School Choir Directors in the State of Florida T he purpose of this study is to discover which methods of teaching sight singing are most effective among middle school choirs in the state of Florida. 1. Did you attend MPA district adjudications with your middle school choir in the 2010 2011 school year? Yes No 2. On average, how many minutes per week did you spend teaching/practicing melodic sight reading with your middle school choir throughout the entire 2010 2011 school year (not just preparing for MPA)? ____________________________ 3. Did you spen d more minutes per week teaching/practicing melodic sight reading when preparing your middle school choir for the melodic sight reading portion of their MPA district adjudication in the 2010 2011 school year than you did the rest of the school year? Yes No 4. If you answered "No" to question 3, please move on to question 5. If you answered "Yes" to question 3, please write approximately how many minutes per week you spent teaching/practicing melodic sight reading with your middle school choir when prepa ring for the melodic sight reading portion of your MPA district adjudication in the 2010 2011 school year. _______________________________ 5. Please check off which method(s) you use to teach/practice melodic sight reading with your middle school choir. If you use more than one, you may check multiple boxes. If you use a different method, please check "Other," and then briefly describe your method.

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 38 # Solfge (with hand signs, movable do) Using Intervals Solfge (with hand signs, fixed do) Using Numbers Solfge (without hand signs, movable do) Using a Neutral Syllable Solfge (without hand signs, fixed do) Other (please describe below) 6. Did you alter your style of teaching/practicing melodic sight reading when preparing your middle school choir for the melodic sight reading portion of your MPA district adjudication in the 2010 2011 school year from your style of teaching/pr acticing sight reading throughout the rest of the year? Yes No 7. If you answered "No" to question 6, please move on to question 8. If you answered "Yes" to question 6, please briefly describe how you changed your style of teaching/practicing melodic sight reading when preparing your middle school choir for the melodic sight reading portion of your MPA district adjudication in the 2010 2011 school year. __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ _____________________ _____________________________________________ 8. How many weeks before attending your MPA district adjudication in the 2010 2011 school year did you start teaching/practicing melodic sight reading exercises that were tailored for your adjudication with you r middle school choir students? _________________________________________ 9. What is the name of your school? (This information will be made known only to the researcher)? __________________________________________________________________ 10. What is your F VA district number? __________________________________ 11. What score did your middle school choir receive in the sight reading category at your MPA district adjudication in the 2010 2011 school year? __________________________________

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 39 # 12. How many students are in your middle school choir? __________________________________ 13. How many minutes per week do you have of total rehearsal time with your middle school choir? __________________________________ 14. Would you be interested in seeing the results of this st udy? (Names of schools/directors/choir names will not be revealed in the study.) Yes No (Johnson & Christensen, 2008)

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 3: # APPENDIX B Comment s I used different preparation materials (examples from previous years' MPAs) and I structured preparation time to feel exactly like MPA, whereas other times of the year I just focused on practicing sight reading in a more general sense. At the beginning of the year, I will sing with them. Then I move (around late fall) to only singing to correct them. Right after the holidays I will not s ing at all, and I will not use anything more than the beat in my conducting pattern. I changed from the text book to FVA study books. Starting teaching in a structure with how MPA is done do not open book, look at exercise for a minute, go back and po int out skips, give beat and do and then sing.

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 4< # REFERENCES Abeles, H. F., Hoffer, C. R., & Klotman, R. H. (1984). Foundations of music education New York, NY: Schirmer Books. Arcidiacono, G. (2011). Correlation coefficient calculator. Ret rieved from http://www.alcula.com/calculators/statistics/correlation coefficient/. Barresi, A. L. (2000). The successful middle school choral teacher. Music Educators Journal, 86 (4), 23 28. Boyd, J. (1981). Teaching choral sight reading Champaign, IL: M ark Foster Music Company. Brophy, T. S. (2000). Assessing the developing child musician: A guide for general music teachers Chicago, IL: GIA Publications, Inc. Cassidy, J. W. (1993). Effects of various sight singing strategies on nonmusic majors' pitc h accuracy. Journal of Research in Music Education, 41 (4), 293 302. ChaillŽ, C. (2008). Constructivism across the curriculum in early childhood classrooms: Big ideas as inspirations Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. Demorest, S. M. (2001) Building choral excellence: Teaching sight singing in the choral rehearsal New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Demorest, S. M. (2000). The challenge of middle school chorus. Music Educators Journal, 86 (4), 21 22. District MPA 2009 2010. (n.d.) Re treived from http://fva.net/districtmpa.html Ešsze, L., Houlahan, M., & Tacka, P. Kod‡ly, Zolt‡n. (n.d.) In Grove Music online. Oxford Music online Retrieved from http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.lp.hscl. ufl.edu/subscriber/article/grove/music/15246

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 4; # Elli ot, D. J. (1995). Music matters: A new philosophy of music education New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc. Elliot, D. J. (2005). Praxial music education New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc. Fosnot, C. T. (2005). Constructivism: Theory, p erspectives, and practice New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Gagnon, G. W., & Collay, M. (2001). Designing for learning: Six elements in constructivism classrooms Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc. Giles, M. M. (1991). Choral reading built on th e basics. Music Educators Journal, 77 (6), 26 29. Henry, M. L., & Killian, J. N. (2005). A comparison of successful and unsuccessful strategies in individual sight singing preparation and performance. Journal of Research in Music Education, 53 (1), 51 6 5. Hiley, D. solmization. (n.d.) In The Oxford Companion to Music Retrieved from http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.lp.hscl.ufl.edu/subscriber/article/opr/t114/e63 02 Hunkins, F. P., & Ornstein, A. C. (2009). Curriculum: Foundations, principles, and issue s (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. Johnson, B., & Christensen, L. (2008). Educational research: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Jorgensen, E. R. (2006). On philosoph ical method. In R. Colwell (Ed.), MENC Handbook

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 43 # of Research Methodologies (176 198). New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc. Kennedy, M. (n.d.). movable doh. In Oxford Music Online: The Oxford Dictionary of Music Retrieved from Latham, A. (n.d.). fixed doh. In Oxford Music Online: The Oxford Companion to Music Retrieved from Lo wry, R. (2011). Point biserial correlation coefficient. Retrieved from http://faculty.vassar.edu/lowry/pbcorr.html. McClung, A.C. (2006). Wonders of choral music in the middle level grades: A bit of nature and a whole lot of nurture. Choral Journal, 47 (5), 38 47. McClung, A. C. (2001). Sight singing systems: Current practice and survey of All State choristers. Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, 20, 3 8 doi: 10.1177/875512330102000102 Music Educators National Conference. (1994). Nati onal standards for arts education. (1st ed.). Reston, VA: The Consortium of National Arts Education Associates. Rainbow, B. Tonic Sol Fa. (n.d.) In Grove Music online. Oxford Music online Retrieved from http://www.oxfor dmusiconline.com.lp.hscl.ufl.edu/subscriber/article/grove/ music/28124 Reimer, B. (2003). A philosophy of music education: Advancing the vision (3rd ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. Rogers, G. L. (1991). Effect of color coded notation on music achievement of elementary

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 44 # instrumental students. Journal of Research in Music Education, 39 (1), 64 73. Rainbow, B. (n.d.). Tonic sol fa. In Grove Music Online: Oxford Music Online Retrieved from http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.lp.hscl.ufl.ed u/subscriber/ article/grove/music/28124?q=tonic+sol+fa&search=quick&pos=1&_start=1#first hit SurveyMonkey. (2011). SurveyMonkey. Retrieved from surveymonkey.com. Using solf e ge in practica musica activities. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ars nova.com/Pr acticaManual/solfege.htm Welcome to the Florida Vocal Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://fva.net/index.html

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!"#!"!$%&'&#()#*+$(,'-#&'./0 1 2+!,'".#*+0/(,& # # 45 # BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Originally from Buffalo, NY, Allison Bisco has been involved in music in different ways fo r most of her life. While m uch of this time has been spent singing, she had planned to pursue a career as an oboist. Her experience as a member of the 2001 New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) High School All State Chorus changed these plans, and she changed her career path to one in the choral field. Although Allison graduated from the University of Miami in 2006 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Business, she returned to her true calling of teaching soon after In ad dition to finishing he r master s degree in music e ducation in December of 2011, s he is currently Assistant Choral Director at Pine Crest School in Boca Raton. It is while working with the choirs and teaching p rivate voice lessons at school where she instills important sight re ading skills among her students.