Effects of Popular Culture Elements on Student Engagement in an Elementary Music Classroom
The University of Georgia
The effects on student engagement of adding popular pedagogy elements (music,
technology, and independent learning) to the traditional upper elementary music classroom will
be explored. Approximately 60 fourth grade student between the ages of ten and eleven in two
separate classes will be pretested using a device that measures student engagement. One class
will serve as the control and continue with traditional music lessons. The other will be exposed
to lessons including popular pedagogy elements. They will then be post-tested using the same
device for measuring engagement. Four semi-structured focus group interview sessions will also
be conducted. The experiment will take place over a period of five class meetings or
approximately seven weeks. It is predicted that the levels of student engagement will be higher
for the group exposed to the popular culture lesson. Implications for elementary music education
will be discussed.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents………………………………………………………………………….3
Student engagement has received increasing attention in recent years due to emerging evidence
of a correlation with academic achievement and lowered dropout rates. Highly engaged students
are less likely to drop out of school and are more likely to get good grades and score well on
standardized tests (Fredricks et al., 2011). Though student engagement has been defined in
various ways throughout educational history, Fredricks, Blumenfeld, and Paris (2004) have
effectively defined engagement using three areas: Behavioral, emotional, and cognitive.
Connell, Wellborn, and Finn (as cited in Fredricks et al., 2011) wrote that behavioral engagement
entails levels of involvement in academic, community, or afterschool programs and emotional
engagement involves a focus on responses to peers and adults. Cognitive engagement includes
motivation, dedication, and effort (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004). Research
demonstrates that engagement begins to decrease in upper elementary school with the trend
continuing throughout the K-12 experience (Marks, 2000). In the proposed study, a device will
be used that measures the emotional and behavioral aspects of student engagement (Fredricks et
The proposed study will focus on the area of upper elementary music education. The
elementary level was chosen for two reasons. First, research states that disengagement with
school begins in upper elementary school. These findings correlate with music education
research that states that student engagement in music classes also decreases with age (Ruismäki
& Tereska, 2008; Stavrou, 2006). Tackling disengagement at the earliest origin is the most
efficient method of correction. This reasoning is supported by well documented research
showing that early interventions are most effective. Second, when students leave elementary
school (in the United States) extracurricular subjects like music, technology, and art are often no
longer required. The behavioral aspect of engagement deals with involvement in extracurricular,
community, and academic activities. Music satisfies these areas. If students become engaged
with a mandatory extracurricular class, they are still engaging with school (Connell & Wellborn
1990; Finn 1989). Upper elementary school is a crucial time for discovering and developing the
interests of students because they will carry those interests through the transitional period
between fifth and sixth grade. Previous engagement in a school subject like music increases the
chances of engagement with school presently and in the future, and therefore increases the
likelihood of better grades, better test scores, and lowered risk of dropping out (Fredricks et al.,
2011). Due to this, the proposed study is valuable to the field of music education and also to
general education, school psychology, and behavioral psychology. Because of the
interdisciplinary nature of the study, it is appropriate to utilize aspects of psychology for
measuring and conducting this study in the field of elementary music education
The subject of music was chosen due to familiarity and other reasons. The academic background
of the researcher is in the subject area of music and education. Additionally, though music is not
a traditional academic subject, participation and engagement with music as a formal subject has
been shown by Caldwell and Vaughan (as cited in Monk & Mills, 2013) to correlate to high
achievement in math and language arts. Music has also been shown to aid in the development of
creativity, motor skills, and teamwork (Portowitz, Lichtenstein, Egorova, & Brand, 2009). In
addition, musical culture plays an important role in human identity formation (Hargreaves &
Marshall, 2003). As a nonacademic extracurricular subject, music is well poised to engage and
equalize students from diverse sociocultural backgrounds, students with special needs, students
who struggle academically, et cetera.
Currently, elementary music is widely taught using Western Classical music and other traditional
forms of folk or jazz music. Traditional music classes include highly formatted and structured
activities in which the teacher is the distributor of knowledge. An emphasis exists on reading
notation, music literacy, and accuracy. Much of the motivation in the setting is extrinsic due to
the unfamiliar nature of traditional music and the unfamiliarity of the subject matter.
Though vast amounts of research, history, and traditional support the use of these methods,
recent evidence indicates that many upper elementary students are apathetic toward or even
dislike their formal music education requirements, indicating a low level of engagement
(Stavrou, 2006). Recently, a movement toward a nontraditional form of music education has
gathered strength. Researchers reviewed evidence indicating dropping levels of engagement in
music classes alongside both anecdotal and formal evidence of the importance of music to young
people (De Vries, 2010). This dichotomy led to additional research indicating that popular music
is the presiding music interest of young people. Results soon showed that autonomy of selection
is a major factor in human enjoyment of and engagement with music (2010). These studies
along with others eventually led to the development of a nontraditional method of music
education known as popular music pedagogy (Green, 2008). Characteristics include an emphasis
on ear playing, improvisation, technology, discovery learning, unstructured knowledge
acquisition, intrinsic motivation, and popular music.
The proposed study will compare levels of student engagement after exposure to two different
instructional strategies. The two instructional strategies to be utilized are traditional music
pedagogy and nontraditional popular music pedagogy (formal and informal). The two
instructional methods will be compared to determine which method generates higher levels of
student engagement. The terms popular music pedagogy, informal learning, and nontraditional
pedagogy will be used interchangeably and will refer instructional strategies with the
abovementioned characteristics. Conversely, the terms formal learning and traditional pedagogy
will be used interchangeably to refer to instructional methods using mainly Western classical or
traditional music, teacher centered activities and an emphasis on music literacy.
The overall purpose of this mixed methods study is to compare the levels of student
engagement generated in the elementary music classroom through the use of two differing
instructional methods. The intent is to analyze and evaluate both traditional and nontraditional
teaching strategies on the basis of student engagement and determine which method is the most
effective. The end purpose of the study is to explore possible corrective solutions for dropping
student engagement in elementary music, and strengthen the body of research on the topic.
Research on implementation of popular music pedagogy in elementary music is scare. Because
of this, the proposed study will contribute an important perspective to the body of research on the
The research question relates directly to the aims of the study and is stated as follows:
What are the effects on student engagement of introducing popular culture
elements to the elementary music classroom?
Secondary questions are qualitative in nature and are stated as follows:
What are some of the reasons behind existing levels of student engagement?
What are some of the reasons behind any changes in student engagement?
The hypothesis for the primary research question predicts that a statistically significant positive
correlation will be found between the use of nontraditional instructional methods (popular music
pedagogy) and student engagement.
A 2003 study by Ruth Wright in the United Kingdom showed matriculation rates for students in
music classes transitioning between primary and secondary school. Like in the United States, in
UK music is required in primary school and in secondary school it becomes an elective class. On
average the retention rates for music were shown to be as low as eight percent of students
continuing music education (Wright, 2008). Harland and the Schools Council (as cited in Wright,
2008) both conducted similar studies and reported extremely low levels of continuing student
participation in music. The findings are supported by Sloboda (2001) in a research study which
demonstrated that students frequently discontinue formal music instruction as they age up.
However, in a lengthy and encompassing study by O’Neill (2001) results concerning
matriculation and student attitudes toward music were shown to be much more positive than the
aforementioned reports. Though somewhat mixed, these alarming statistics led researchers and
teachers to investigate the causes behind the low uptake rates.
Studies on matriculation and engagement in music classes between transitory school ages are
both qualitative and quantitative. The qualitative studies often investigate student motivation
behind the discontinuation of music education. In a study by Stavrou in Egypt (2006), a sample
of 1,196 primary school children were polled. Only 4.6% named music as their favorite school
subject. To corroborate her data, students were also polled on their least favorite school subject.
Music scored second at 12.9%. Similar dismal results were reported on a test of actual music
knowledge conducted as part of the study. Additionally, students were polled on the activities
that most frequently occur in their music classroom. The order was: choir rehearsal, recorder,
traditional songs, music literacy (reading rhythms and note names), percussion, and Western
classical music. Last, students were asked what activities they would prefer to see in their music
classroom. The highest rated were: popular songs, foreign popular songs, percussion, Western
classical music, traditional music, and composing. The study showed that student’s favorite
musical activities are practiced infrequently in the classroom setting.
In a study concerning child participation in music making activities, 98% of students reported
listening to music frequently alone and at home, with the amount of listening increasing with
age. The students were Year 6 and Year 7 students in UK schools. This age group is equivalent
to fifth and sixth grade students in the US. These results support the conclusion that a student
population frequently engages with music outside of school, showing the importance of music to
young people. Other relevant statistics include a 61.9% rating on frequent singing along with
recorded music and 59.1% rating on often dancing at parties or discos (O’Neill, 2001). Perhaps
most interesting are the results about instrument players. Out of the population of Year 6 school
instrument players, only 35% of those students continued playing an instrument by the end of
Year 7. An 18% decrease in the amount of children who played an instrument outside of school
occurred between Year 6 and Year 7 (2001). Though the study shows that students are far more
musical than some matriculation studies show, a clear decrease in engagement with school music
occurs between elementary and secondary school.
Another study by Ruismäki & Tereska (2008) found that the study of formal music literacy such
as solfege or music theory was rated as boring and useless by Finnish general education teachers
reflecting on their early school music experiences. However, an opposing study by Lamont
(2011) found that in a survey of adult amateur musicians, music theory and technical skills were
among the highest rated in importance out of the music skills learned in elementary school.
Viewing these sources with a critical eye is imperative. Both projects were undertaken with adult
populations who view their experiences through a lens of age. Both memory failure and
changing values may alter accuracy of reported results. While this does not diminish the
importance of the studies, they must be considered with these limitations in mind.
Sloboda (2001) quotes a case study on two young students who spent two to three hours a day
practicing their respective instruments. One year later, both had given up playing after moving to
secondary school. In initial interviews, sense of achievement, fun, and parental support were
given as imperative factors in the level of dedication to playing. In follow up interviews a year
later, the following reasons were given for the cessation of playing: Boredom partially due to the
exams and expectations associated with increased skill, the students previously achievements
were now seen as meaningless, other social and academic activities took precedence, and
dropping out was seen as independent and autonomous. Sloboda (2001) reasons that several
explanations exist for the lapse in formal music activity. In secondary school, music is an
elective class whereas in elementary school music is a required part of the curriculum.
Therefore, academic subjects assume greater importance in secondary school, whereas music is a
hobby. Next, parental support was cited as being a key component for high levels of music study,
and students rely less on parental support as they age. Last and perhaps most important to the
proposed study is that students cannot see any particular purpose to continuing music education
or instrument playing in their future or current lives. Given the clear evidence that students do
engage with music in a variety of ways throughout their school experience, it is fascinating that
they do not connect their formal or school music education with their highly music lives.
Lamont (2011) gives further reasoning for the cessation of musical study as given by amateur
adult musicians. Interviews included themes of lack of talent, needing extrinsic motivation to
improve, lack of opportunity, and the idea that instruction had to be continuous in order to
achieve a measure of skill and satisfaction. Lamont conjectures that teaching music in a
traditional form can cause disengagement and disillusionment with music playing because it
fosters the idea the music is inaccessible to those without skill or resources. This is supported
by another qualitative study using student interviews. Students demonstrated a clear love of
music, but commented on their extreme dislike of their music lessons ( De Vries, 2010).
Given the evidence, one can infer that the presiding musical interest of young people is popular
music and that their enjoyment of and engagement with the material is based on the autonomy of
choice in selection (Stavrou, 2006; Wright, 2008). This statement is support by De Vries (2011)
who conducted a study with his own son. This design of the study has the possibility to cross
serious ethical and moral boundaries. However, every care was taken to ensure the child’s
willing participation, lack of coercion, and validity of data. Within the study, the child was
allowed to select any music he wanted and engage with it in any way he chose. He chose the
times he was observed and decided the length of the study. The child selected pieces that were
familiar to him from a wide variety of genres (jazz, pop, instrumental, lyrical) and displayed a
high level of engagement with the pieces by independently drawing, singing dancing, and
playing them on the piano. Fascinatingly, his choices reflected his process of enculturation and
highlighted the importance of music in cultural and self-identity. He engaged with the music
informally, but displayed a level of technical knowledge about the music appropriate for his age.
The study is important because it demonstrates that knowledge acquisition can be informal and
haphazard yet valid and technical. Heath (as cited in Hargreaves & Marshall, 2003) supports this
conclusion with his research on the “third space”, a place where musical learning takes place
without the presence of teachers or parents to guide formal instruction. Learning can take place
in the “third space” either through discovery and exploration or from peers.
Hargreaves & Marshall (2003) provide an absorbing explanation as to why music is so important
to young people. They conjecture that each person forms two musical identity constructs. They
are identified as identified as Identity in Music or IIM, and Music in Identity or MII. IIM
involves the ways in which individuals view themselves in relation to the culturally constructed
roles of participation in musicianship. Examples in the developed world include composers,
teachers, jazz singers, French horn players, conductors, popular artists, technicians, etc. IIM
relates to how close the individual feels him or herself to be the self-constructed concept of what
it means to be in one of these roles. MII refers to the way in which music is part of the
individual’s self-concept, including race, gender, nationalism, social roles and other aspects.
Undoubtedly, MMI is very important to the self-identity of a developing child, which is why
adolescents often cling to a particular set of genres and prefer those above all else. Adolescents
feel that certain genres correspond and reverberate with who they feel themselves to be (Wright,
2008). What is less clear is the relationship that students have to Western classical, folk, or jazz
music; the most prevalent genres used in elementary music education today. Few people can
form a relationship to music that is rarely heard, wordless, alien, and undervalued by peers and
society (Green, 2006). The concept of IIM has a vast impact on music students. In traditional
pedagogy (the most widely used form in the United States today), conventional musical roles are
glorified. Examples include opera singers, violinists, orchestral conductors, or symphony
composers. Musicianship is viewed as requiring a high level of technical skill (Hargreaves &
Marshall, 2003). Therefore, students form an IIM that relates to traditional musical roles, which
many students do not attain. By contrast, informally trained musicians and informal ways of
engaging with music are dismissed and at times scorned as invalid. Because of this, students are
less likely to view themselves as skilled musicians, which decreases the likelihood that they will
continue active involvement in music activities and value music in school and through
adulthood. One study reported only that half of a small sample considered themselves musical,
despite the fact that every student played instruments, sang, composed, and engaged in other
musical activities regularly, and despite a progressive classroom in which the teacher
incorporated elements of popular pedagogy (Wright, 2008). This implies that the traditional IIM
is influences even before school begins and reflects larger societal opinion. Another study of
adult amateur musicians reported that 20% of a 530 person sample size did not consider
themselves musicians, despite high levels of experience and involvement with music making
activities (Lamont, 2011).
Lucy Green (2006) wrote a discourse on the subject of popular music in schools. She conjectured
that though use of popular music is increasing in curriculum, changes in pedagogical techniques
have been slow to accompany the shift. She writes that simply including popular music but using
traditional pedagogies creates the same problems of disengagement evidenced in earlier research.
This is due to the nature of context, which for some students validates their enjoyment of popular
music. If they are not engaging with it or choosing it autonomously or in the “third space”, they
continue to consider it school music.
In a book by Green (2002) she explores implications for the findings of a previous study by her
conducted on the methods by which popular musicians attain their abilities. Her seminal study
coined the term “popular music pedagogy”, which may also be referred to as informal or
nontraditional pedagogy. The original study was conducted in an effort to construct a viable
solution for the problem of the dichotomy of teachers using traditional pedagogical methods for
new popular music. Green has been criticized on her original study for the fact that it included a
very small sample size, no participant under the age of 15, and a disproportionate number of
males (Lill, 2014). Nevertheless, the study yielded some important results. In her book, Green
(2002) outlines the key methods through which pop musicians acquire musical ability.
Overriding themes included listening and copying other musicians, learning from peers and in
group settings, haphazard versus structured knowledge acquisition, and intrinsic motivation.
Green thought that perhaps she had begun to construct a solution to the problem of context of
popular music in a formal setting. She also suspected the study might eventually positively
affect dropping student matriculation and engagement with school music, and begin to address
the more global issue of a lack of adult amateur musicians in society as a whole.
Work by Green and many others led to the eventual implementation in the United Kingdom of a
program called the Ear Playing Project, or EPP. EPP was part of a larger program in the UK
called Musical Futures. The aural aspect of the series was based on evidence that popular
musicians learned to play by ear, or by copying and reproducing sounds, and that this could lead
to increased creativity, freedom of expression, and integration (Baker & Green, 2013). In a
study that was part of the EPP, Baker and Green tested the skills of two groups of students aged
10 to 14 who were matched in ability. One group learned popular music using traditional
pedagogies, and the other learned popular music by ear. The students were pre and post-tested.
The experimental group exceeded the control group in the areas of pitch, rhythm, contour,
tempo, and closure. The areas of rhythm and closure were statistically significant (Baker &
Green, 2013). As a part of the larger EPP, qualitative self-report questionnaires were given out
to both students and teachers with questions on the effects of the EPP. Unfortunately, the
questions did not concern whether students liked the changes or their interest levels. Because of
this, no information can be ascertained on the emotional or behavioral aspects of their changing
engagement. The questions were mainly concerned with cognitive changes.
Researchers have continued to expand upon themes of musical identity, musical autonomy,
popular music pedagogy, informal learning, technology, discovery learning, creativity, and
intrinsic motivation through continuing research and writings. One researcher performed a case
study of the musical practices at a UK primary school in which the uptake rate into secondary
music was extraordinarily high at 25% (Wright, 2008). The primary teacher at that school used a
mixture of informal and formal pedagogical methods by choosing popular music and organizing
her classes into an ensemble in order to cover arrangements of the music. However she did not
allow students to choose music or make up their own music, and she retained clear control and
leadership over the class. Lack of autonomy was the biggest issue which garnered negative
student responses on a questionnaire given to students in the study. However, many students felt
very positively about the program, and gave suggestions in which their interest could be
developed further (2008). This study demonstrates a form of an implementation of popular
pedagogy which gives clear results. Students are more engaged and therefore more likely to
continue in music activities. The study is limited by the fact that it only studied one class of
students, a very small sample size.
One study illustrates a school implementing popular music pedagogy in a very balanced and
participatory form (Monk & Mills, 2013). The school offered an incredibly varied selection of
musical programs which allowed students to make choices and engage with music
autonomously. Some of these programs included regular voice classes, classroom music, choir
and band, and musicals. Additionally, the school offered drum circles and ukulele classes during
lunch which were promoted as stress management and social programs. Interviews with students
widely indicated that the flexibility and accessibility of the music programs in the school made it
possible for them to engagement with music autonomously, and opened them up to the
possibilities of community music and opportunities to be musical outside of a school setting.
This was especially true of low achieving students (2013). However, the results of the study
could be skewed due to the transparent recruitment process. Participation was optional and a
sample was recruited from the entire school (2000 students). It is possible that the participation
and questionnaire forms were returned by students and staff who already had a vested interest in
music and music programs at the school and therefore are more likely to make positive remarks.
In a related study by Burnard (2004) students were taped during lessons and then asked to review
the lessons and discuss moments where they thought learning occurred. The teacher used
traditional pedagogies in her classes, but the unit of study occurring during the data collection
process was on playing the Samba, an ethnic drum. Interestingly, the students denoted that
learning occurred in very different places than when the teacher felt learning was occurring. The
students focused on moments of autonomy, peer learning, meaningfulness, and fun. The teacher
mainly focused on if the students were achieving the desired outcomes of the lesson (2004). The
study is fascinating because it corroborates Green’s studies showing that students feel they are
most engaged when enjoying themselves, employing self-agency, and learning socially.
In a study similar in nature to the proposed study, a teacher researcher adapted popular pedagogy
practices from Green and the Musical Futures Project with his class of ten year old students
(Davis, 2013). He gave the students a popular song to cover by ear, began with minimal
instruction, and allowed the students guide their own learning process. The study was qualitative
in nature and consisted of interviews and descriptions. The findings revealed that students felt
that the process increased expression, confidence, and creativity. The teacher researcher
witnessed gains in autonomy and peer learning (2013). However, the research sample was very
small. Additionally, the researcher first manipulated the environment and then measured the
effects with no baseline to compare with. The study could have been strengthened by first
interviewing students on their thoughts on the current musical practices in the classroom.
A number of essays explore the philosophical and theoretical aspects of informal and formal
learning. Folkestad (2006) published a paper focusing on studies that involve formal and
informal learning, and from the meta-analysis formed definitive, comprehensive categories for
the ways formal and informal learning are used and defined. The categories span all areas of
music learning; school, home, and the “third space”. His paper supports an encompassing and
vibrant view of music education and a balanced pedagogy in which all forms of music learning
are valid. Dunbar-Hall and Wemyss (2000) wrote a discourse on the various ways that popular
music has affected Australian music education. The writers conclude that the impact extends to
increasing application of technology, greater awareness of cultural differences and world music
trends. However, they conclude that the inclusion of popular music was originated by societal
and governmental concerns about the lack of student creativity and engagement in Australian
music education. Another Australian researcher highlights concerns over the lack of attention on
the interdisciplinary nature of children’s musical learning (Temmerman, 2005). She writes that
music is a cultural construct and not simply a school subject, and that treating music as such is
ultimately detrimental and ineffective. Temmerman advocates a highly varied musical culture
that respects diversity. Her paper culminates in a call to educational policy makers to review
evidence and establish a reasonable, updated, and codified system in Australia.
Many researchers and authors support of a shift to a cohesive, inclusive, and comprehensive
form of music education. Popular music pedagogy is an incumbent field with many new
developments and exploratory studies abreast. The proposed study is based first on an
assumption that student perspective is a valid factor in constructing meaningful learning
experiences (Cook-Sather, 2002; Lill, 2014). The researcher constructed the methodology of the
study based on traditional research methods (Mertler, 2014). The study is based on a theoretical
framework taken from Green (2002). The thematic material in the study is adapted from a variety
of sources (Davis, 2013; Gower, 2012; Kim, 2013). Research on the inclusion of popular music
at the elementary level is scant, and few if any studies quantitatively gauge changes in student
engagement through behavior and emotional responses. The inclusion of a baseline measure for
comparison, the school level at which the proposed study will be conducted, and the focus on
engagement and quantitative data with a qualitative sub-aspect make the proposed study an
important contribution to the body literature on the subject of traditional versus non-traditional
teaching and learning processes.
Approximately 60 fourth grade students between the ages of 10 and 11 attending a public
elementary school in Winder, Georgia will be selected for participation. The students will be part
of two separate different music classes. The school is a fully funded Title I school located in a
lower middle class rural area. Informed consent will be gathered from all parents, guardians, and
participants. Incentive will be given to motivate students to return their informed consent papers
to school. The researcher will consult with the music and classroom teachers to determine which
two classes will be used. This consideration will ensure that the classes are roughly equal in
ability, academic achievement, gender distribution, and socioeconomic distribution. This will
strengthen the accuracy of results.
Student engagement will be measured using an existing instrument that has been adapted
for music. The original instrument was used in the subject area of science but is a highly
appropriate measure for the purposes of the current study. The instrument is called the
Engagement Versus Disaffection with Learning (EvsD) scale and includes a student and teacher
report section. The instrument was developed by Ellen Skinner and her colleagues at the
University of Portland as part of a research venture and is available online. The EvsD reports in
an internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha) of 0.61-0.85 on the student report section and a 0.81-
0.87 on the teacher report section. Test-retest reliability is 0.53-0.68 on the student report, and
0.65-0.82 on the teacher report. The creators of EvsD reported construct validity based on
correlations between differentiated methods of measuring student engagement. Additionally,
EvsD reported results from a confirmatory factor analysis showing expected correlation between
four subscales within the instrument. Teacher and student report subscales showed small
correlations, however teacher reports correlated with outside observer reports. Engagement
showed expected patterns of decreasing with advancing age.
In addition to the testing instrument, the researcher will created a short set of semi-
structured interview questions. An audio or video recording device will be used to document
focus group interviews. Materials for data collection include: pencils, pen, test papers, interview
questions, a personal computer, and a recording device. Additional instruments may include
coding software and data organizing software.
The study is a mixed methods quasiexperimental pretest posttest control group design.
The researcher will function both as a full participant and teacher alongside the classroom music
teacher. The dependent variable is student engagement, and the independent variable is the
instructional method that is used.
The study can also be considered an explanatory mixed methods experiment because a
semi-structured focus group interview component will be utilized to inform and triangulate the
test results. The interviews will consist of no more than five students per session and will last no
longer than 45 minutes. Four total focus group interviews will occur.
The researcher will obtain informed consent from all parties involved in the study and
create an alternative assignment for students who do not wish to participate. Students and parents
will be told that the purpose of the study is to measure and compare engagement with their music
classes against those of another class using alternative methods. The teacher and researcher will
administer the EvsD pretest orally to compensate for different reading levels. In order to
establish a baseline, this will occur before any experimental instruction has begun. The test will
be given to both classes. Students will be given instructions. For example:
This test is not for a grade, so I do not want you to worry about doing bad or good on it.
More importantly, I would like you to be very honest. This will in no way affect your grade in
music class and is for information only. Some of the questions may sound similar, but answer
them as best you can. Do not show your paper to anyone else. Write your name at the top. No
one will see your paper but me and your teacher. After the study, the results will be available to
you if you are interested, but your name will not be shown to anybody except you, me, and your
Within one week after the test, the researcher will administer the focus group interviews.
One focus group interview will occur in each class of students, for a total of two initial
For a period of five class meetings (approximately seven weeks total) one class will
receive regular instruction using traditional music education methods and Western classical, folk,
or jazz music. The second class will receive integrated instruction using technology,
nontraditional music education methods, and will utilize the popular music genre and popular
culture within their lessons. Students will be expected to participate in these lessons as they
normally would in the course of the school day.
Following this period, the researcher and teacher will administer the posttest orally.
Similar instructions to the original pretest will be given. Within one week of the conclusion of
the treatment exposure, the researcher will conduct two more focus group interviews (one with
each class). The questions will be similar to the original interview questions, though the
discussion may lead to new secondary questions.
Quantitative data will be aggregated, appropriately tested, and compared. Qualitative data
will be transcribed and coded for patterns. Quantitative data will be presented in graphs and
qualitative data will be presented in tables. If the stated hypothesis is proven correct, implications
of the effects on music education will be discussed.
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