Factors That Predict Participation in Choral Music for High-School Students (Report) by Research and Issues in Music Education (RIME)

Factors That Predict Participation in Choral Music for High-School Students (Report)

By Research and Issues in Music Education (RIME)

  • Publication Date: 2006-09-01
  • Genre: Education

Book Synopsis

Participation in music and the fine arts can be viewed as having both musical and non-musical benefits for participants at all levels. As music educators we value what we do for students, both musically and non-musically. Some would argue that a comprehensive choral music program should address aesthetic awareness and high levels of performance followed by authentic evaluation (Hylton, 1997). Gates (1991) suggests that "... extramusical values have always provided the social foundations for music participation in American schools" (p. 8). Students have various reasons for beginning music study and for continuing to participate in musical activities and ensembles. Why do some students continue to participate in school music when it is no longer mandatory, while others opt to discontinue participation in school music? Several researchers have examined the attitudes of students toward their music participation, the possible relationship of musical ability and attitude toward music, and various socioeconomic, geographic and social factors affecting participation in school music. A review of these studies has been organized by the chronological age of the subjects, from elementary-aged students through adults. Surveys of students regarding their attitudes toward school music begin at the elementary level. Mizener (1993) questioned 542 children in grades three through six concerning their attitudes toward singing and choir participation. While less than half (45%) of the children surveyed would like to sing in a school choir, a robust 78% enjoyed singing in alternative settings (i.e. singing along with the radio, etc.). This study found no correlation between singing skill and attitudes toward school choir participation. Better singers were not necessarily more interested in singing in choir. Mizener made several recommendations to encourage positive attitudes and continued participation in school music based on the results of her questionnaire: use unpitched percussion for rhythmic exercises and drills, use singing games to engage students musically, and find songs that are in a limited, comfortable range for upper elementary students. Attitudes toward school music at the elementary level are neither constant nor consistent. Pognowski (1985) noted the increasingly negative attitudes toward school music as children advance by age and grade level. She hypothesized that involvement in an interactive experiential music curriculum might improve those declining attitudes. Consistent with Mizener, Pognowski discovered no relationship between musical aptitude and attitudes toward school music. There was, however, a moderately high correlation between global attitudes toward music and attitudes toward school music. Students who liked music in general were more likely to enjoy school music.

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