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TRANSFERRING SKILLS FROM ENGLISH-LANGUAGE ARTS AND MATH

CLASSROOMS TO INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC CLASSROOMS

Methods

Introduction

The purpose of this research study was to examine whether or not helping

students be cognizant of skills they acquire in other classrooms would impact their

intrinsic motivation of applying those skills to problem solve in a music performance

setting. In order to do this, the researcher also investigated (a) how focusing on math

concepts impacted student understanding of performance of rhythms, (b) how focusing

on reading strategies in the music performance classroom impacted student abilities to

analyze unfamiliar pieces of music, and (c) the impact cross-curricular staff collaboration

might have on student abilities to transfer skills to the music classroom.

Participants

The research was conducted at a public middle school in a rural part of Northeast

Wisconsin. At the time of the study, the school had an enrollment of approximately 530

students. The school’s student body was 68.5% Caucasian, 20.3% American Indian, 4.1%

Hispanic, .8% Asian, and .7% Black. 5.6% of the students were identified as having two

or more races/ethnicities. In this district 53.1% of the students were reported

economically disadvantaged at the time of the study, 16.4% were documented with

disabilities, and none of the students were limited English proficient. This study focused

on students enrolled in the orchestra program at the middle school. This population of this

group was made up of about 35 students and reflected the general population of all

students at the middle school (“WISEdash,” 2015).

Along with this. students were asked to respond to a teacher-designed attitudinal survey (Appendix A) to look at their attitudes toward independently figuring out new pieces of music. Research Design . The researcher also looked at student music to see if the students had used the text coding reading strategies when they were beginning a new piece of music (Appendix B). At the close of the study. students were assessed on their abilities to sight-read a new piece of music during these lessons. the researcher reflected each week on how the lessons went and whether or not the students understood what was being done through means of a journal.Procedure At the beginning of the 10-week quasi-experimental study. As these strategies were being used in the music classroom. The rubrics from those assessments (Appendix C) were compared to determine whether or not students were making gains on their sight-reading abilities. the researcher would informally talk with students about whether or not they thought these strategies were helping them in their playing. The researcher corresponded with teachers in math and reading in both conferences and through email to find strategies that those teachers used in their areas and to make sure that common language was being used in the researcher’s room for those strategies. the students were asked to complete another teacher-designed attitudinal survey (Appendix D) similar to the first to see if student attitudes had changed toward their abilities to independently figure out a new piece of music. During weekly student group lessons. The goal was to make it as explicit as possible to the students that these same strategies were being applied to what was being done in the music classroom.

Work samples (Appendix B) and rubrics from student assessments on sight- reading (Appendix C) and were also examined over the course of this study to look at what gains the students were making. The researcher corresponded with math and ELA teachers in order to gain insights and common language on how to best teach the material and relate it from one curricular area to another. Finally. Field notes and personal journals were used to reflect on how well the researcher perceived the lessons and strategies to be working. A variety of research tools were used in order to try to identify any trends that might speak to the purpose statement of the study. whether for or against. Additional data was collected by analyzing the rubrics for the completion of the sight-reading assessments to determine whether or not students were making gains in their abilities along with if there were . a teacher-designed attitudinal survey (Appendix D) similar to the original was administered to the participants at the close of the study to determine if any of the students’ attitudes had changed toward their desires to figure out new pieces of music for themselves. or if they needed to be revised. Data Analysis The research analyzed and compared the opening attitudinal survey with the closing attitudinal survey to determine whether or not any changes to students’ perceptions of their own abilities had occurred. The researcher designed this study to determine if student understanding of the relationship of other subject areas to a music performance classroom could impact their motivation to actively figure out unfamiliar music for themselves. A teacher-designed attitudinal survey (Appendix A) was administered to the participants at the beginning of the study to gain insight into student desires to figure out new pieces of music for themselves.

. The tools used to form conclusions showed the perceptions of all students involved in the study along with that of the researcher multiple times in order to show consistency and acceptable validity. How students perceived their understanding of the cross-curricular concepts was also noted through notes on the conferences to determine whether or not teaching the concepts was beneficial to the music classroom.changes in their comfort levels to sight-read.