Tonal memory has been of interest to music educators since the earliest studies in music psychology, and computer-assisted instruction has begun to pervade all areas of music education. Training for increased music aptitude, of which tonal memory is an important component, has been a controversial area of research.The purpose of this study was to (a) develop a microcomputer-assisted music instruction program for improving tonal memory and (b) test its effectiveness as measured by the appropriate subsections of the Seashore Measures of Musical Talents, Drake Musical Aptitude Tests, (Wing) Standardized Tests of Musical Intelligence and (Gaston) Test of Musicality. It was hypothesized that (a) students who received training with a microcomputer-assisted music instruction program would make greater improvement on tonal memory test scores than students who did not receive the training program and (b) there would be differences in improvement among students at different grade levels who received the training program.Ten experimental subjects and ten control subjects were randomly selected from similar music classes in the Dade County Schools (Florida) for each of the four grades: four, six, eight, and ten. The experimental subjects were administered the researcher-developed microcomputer-assisted music instruction program (written for the Atari 800) two half hours a week for eight weeks in addition to regular classroom music instruction.Results revealed that, although both groups made statistically significant gains from pretest to posttest on the dependent measures, the differences between the experimental and control groups' gain scores were not statistically significant. However, when only the Drake and Gaston tests were utilized as dependent measures, the results yielded a statistically significant difference (p = .05186) between the two groups in favor of the experimental group. Results also indicated that there were no statistically significant differences in the gain scores of the four grade levels of students who received the training program.This method of instruction appears to be feasible for improving tonal memory; however, there is a need for further investigation of music aptitude, its constructs, and particularly, the extent to which tonal memory is a constituent of music aptitude.
- Education, Music
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