The effects of pitch discrimination training on achievement in melodic interval discrimination
Loh, Christian Sebastian
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The improvement of aural skills through ear training is part of the formative education received by beginning college music students. Current practice in many college music programs, including the University of Georgia, relies heavily on computer-assisted instruction (CAI) to develop and improve the listening skills of college music students through pitch discrimination tasks such as interval identification. Despite the number of inquiries into the effects of Web-based instruction (WBI) for education and the efforts to integrate technology into classrooms, there is currently a wide gap in the literature on the use and effects of innovative technology and WBI for music learning at the college level. This study investigated the effects of Web-based pitch discrimination training on college music students’ achievement in melodic interval discrimination. Mona Listen, a Web-based learning module for pitch discrimination, was developed as a training and data collection tool for the study. Practice records, participants’ feedback, and achievement scores of pretest, posttest and follow-up posttest served as the data for a repeated measure design study. Data analyses were conducted using t-tests and analysis of variance. A focus-group interview provided additional data not collected with the online instrument. This study suggested that: (a) Web-based pitch discrimination training had an overall positive effect on achievement in melodic interval discrimination, (b) pitch discrimination training using melodic intervals recorded in guitar sound has a larger positive effect than piano sound on achievement of melodic interval identification, and (c) the amount of time spent ontask was not a good predictor of achievement, possibly due to other underlying factors. These findings suggest a need for music educators to reconsider current classroom practice for pitch discrimination training. Instructional technologists and music researchers should collaborate to improve future music education through technology-enhanced and Webbased music instruction.