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Title:Selective Attention of Young Children to Unfamiliar Musical Stimuli
Author(s):Mccutchan, Marlin Eugene
Department / Program:Music
Discipline:Music Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Music
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to investigate the modes of response of young children to unfamiliar musical stimuli. The specific problems were: (1) To what extent will the responses of the children contain evidence of selective attention to the musical elements of pitch, rhythm, and texture? (2) To what extent does repetition of stimuli affect the child's response? (3) To what extent do responses differ among 4, 5, 6, and 9 year old children?
Subjects of the study were 20 young children, five each at ages 4, 5, 6, and 9 years. They were chosen on the basis of demonstrated ability to verbalize freely and intelligibly. A set of music listening tasks was developed and presented individually to each subject. These tasks consisted of 20 pair of brief, taped, and musical examples. The paired items were either identical or contrasted in one or more of the selected musical elements: pitch, rhythm, or texture. The subjects listened to the paired examples, identified the stimulus as "same" or "different," and then described the elements of the music to which they had attended and which formed the basis for their same or different choice.
The results of the study indicated a significant difference (p < .01) in accuracy of response among the three elements investigated. The subjects displayed their best discrimination with pitch contrasts, both in number of accurate responses and in clarity of descriptions. The second most discriminating element was texture. The 4 years olds were largely unaware of any texture contrasts (3 or 20 correct), while the 9 year old subjects' responses were almost totally accurate (18 of 20). The subjects were least successful in hearing and describing items of rhythmic contrast.
An immediate repetition of the musical stimulus resulted in improved scores for subjects at each age level. The improvement was greater on "same" than on "different" items, and the rate increased with age.
Although responses to each of the elements improved at successive ages, the only improvements between consecutive age groups which attained statistical significance occurred with texture.
Issue Date:1983
Description:213 p.
Thesis (Educat.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8324603
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1983

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