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ERIC Number: ED525164
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 239
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-7138-7
An Examination of the Cognitive Workload Associated with Conducting in an Instrumental Music Context
Chaffin, Charles Roger
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The purpose of this study was to examine subject attentional resource allocation during performance of the multitask operation of conducting, where multiple cognitive and kinesthetic tasks are performed concurrently. Subjects' (n = 15) attentional resources were measured through primary task performance, consisting of both gesture and aural analysis, in a variety of part and whole-task operations over a unit of study in an undergraduate conducting course at a large Midwestern university. Throughout this unit of study, subjects received part-task training (isolated instruction on one task component at any given time) relative to aural analysis and conducting gesture. Data collection consisted of primary task performance relative to aural analysis, conducting gesture, and the NASA Task Load Index, a subjective workload rating used to measure subjects' perceived levels of stress, workload, and success. This study was based upon research in aeronautical training, where complex task instruction is designed to optimize student achievement while limiting cognitive load. The results of this study indicate a significant decline in subject attentional allocation with regard to aural analysis during dual-task episodes, suggesting the presence of a cognitive bottleneck. Subjects' attentional resources allocated towards conducting gesture gradually increased throughout the study, indicating both task preference as well as perhaps increased comfort with the prescriptive, recurrent task of gesture. Subjects perceived their level of frustration and stress to be highest during introductory whole-task episodes, with their most significant success occurring at the end of the unit of study. The results of this study suggest the need for whole-task instruction, where students learn how to perform kinesthetic and cognitive operations concurrently, while learning how to divide and switch attentional resources amongst associated tasks. When taking cognitive workload into consideration, complex tasks may not be simply the sum of smaller, isolated tasks. The traditional atomistic approach, therefore, may not provide the learner opportunities to both develop basic skills while also learning the cognitive operations associated with a complex task simultaneously. Finally, the results of this study may be relevant to other areas of music teacher education, specifically where teacher action, vigilance of student action, and aural analysis are interrelated and performed concurrently. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A