A comparison of the effects of Orff Schulwerk and traditional music instruction on selected elements of music achievement in third, fourth, and fifth grade students
Womack, Sara Chandler Trotman
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In light of the multitude of approaches to teaching musical concepts, it is a challenge to determine which approach is most effective in teaching these concepts. Although the Orff Schulwerk approach has gained a growing following in recent years, there is little evidence to support its positive effects on music achievement in comparison with other approaches, such as Dalcroze and Kod‡ly. The purpose of this study is to compare the musical achievement of third, fourth, and fifth grade students taught using an Orff-centered approach with that of students taught using a more traditional music teaching approach, as outlined in the music textbook series Share the Music. For the control group, the study utilized two intact classes from each of the following grade levels: third grade (n = 32, 16 girls and 16 boys), fourth grade (n = 41, 19 girls and 22 boys), and fifth grade (n = 40, 24 girls and 16 boys) for a total of 113 subjects. For the experimental group, the study utilized three intact third grade classes (n = 46, 19 girls and 27 boys), three intact fourth grade classes (n = 59, 30 girls and 29 boys), and two intact fifth grade classes (n = 40, 21 girls and 19 boys) for a total of 145 subjects. The total number of subjects in the study was 258 students. All subjects in the experimental and control groups were administered a pretest and posttest with a treatment period of 13 lessons within five months. Test 1 of the Music Achievement Tests (MAT), including pitch, interval, and meter discrimination, developed by Richard Colwell served as the measurement tool. T-tests were utilized to determine if a significant difference existed between the treatment methods. No significant difference was found in a comparison of pretest-posttest mean gain scores for students in each grade level, but collectively, statistical significance for students in all grade levels was found between the mean gain scores for the two groups on the pitch and meter discrimination subtests and the overall score in favor of the control group. No significant difference was found for the interval discrimination subtest.
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