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ERIC Number: EJ1183234
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-2379-9021
The Effect of Writing Solfège Syllables into Choral Repertoire on the Sight-Reading Ability of High School Choir Students
Lovorn, Tonya
Texas Music Education Research, p15-24 2016
Sight-reading is widely considered one of the most important parts of a choral music education and plays an important role in developing independent music learners (Collins, 1993) and a good indicator of music achievement (Hayward & Gromko, 2009). It has also been said that better sight-readers tend to be better performers (Lehman & McArthur, 2002). Additionally, sight-reading is one of the core skills mentioned in the National Association for Music Education's Core Music Standards (NAFME, 2015). In many states, sight-reading is a required portion of choral contest participation and all-state choir auditions. A variety of opinions exist, however, as to the best method of teaching sight-reading in the choral classroom. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of writing solfège syllables into music. Research questions were as follows: (1) Is the combination of auditory, visual, and kinesthetic skills (writing solfège) improving sight-reading ability or are singers becoming dependent on reading the written syllable? (2) Is audiation, an aural technique, a better choice for high school choir students? (3) Do the number of years in choir or the gender of the participant affect results? Two sight-reading melodies were created based on exercises from "Week 13" in McGill and Stevens' "90 Days to Sight Reading Success" (2003). Each melody was in the key of F-major and was four measures in length. Effort was made to make each melody of similar difficulty by using the same number of rhythmic changes and the same interval leaps (see Figure 1). A pilot study was completed to determine the appropriate difficulty level for the melodies. Students (N = 98) in a choral program from a 4A high school in central Texas participated in the study. Each participant was given a written survey inquiring about instrumental background, gender, participation in private voice lessons, and number of years in choir. They were then randomly assigned to two different study groups. An independent t-test using pre-test results revealed no significant difference between the groups, t(96) = 0.75, p < 0.05. Participants were given a pre-test to determine their sight-reading level before the experiment began. The students were randomly assigned to sight-read Melody A or Melody B. Half of the participants in each group did the pre-test with Melody A and the other half with Melody B. The students were allowed 30 seconds to chant through the melody. At the end of the chant period, the tonic triad was played and the participant was instructed to sing the melody. Each pre-test was recorded and scored from the recording. Participants received a point for every correctly sung pitch with a maximum score of 16. An independent listener analyzed 25% of the recordings randomly selected from each group on pre-test and post-test trials. Reliability, calculated using Pearson's r, was 99%. The results of this study are potentially highly applicable in the choral classroom. If students are writing solfège on the score or just audiating pitches in their head, the use of either of these sight-reading methods could improve sight-reading ability
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A