CHARACTERISTICS OF YOUNG CHILDREN'S MUSIC CONCEPT DISCRIMINATION


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Abstract

This study was designed to evaluate several components of a proposed sequence of music concept development in young children, related to the ability to identify and label contrasting examples of music characteristics in the contexts of both listening to music and performing by singing. The preschool aged subjects (N=36) participated in four activities which required them to demonstrate, by labeling and/or performing, contrasts of tempo (fast/slow) or articulation (smooth/ choppy). Results indicated that there was no significant difference between subjects' ability to label recorded music and their ability to label elements of a song they had just sung. All subjects did demonstrate the discriminations necessary to match variations in a model's singing tempo or articulation. Subjects were also asked to sing a familiar song using a specified characteristic, with and without accompanying hand movements. When asked to sing “fast,” subjects sang significantly faster than when asked to sing “slow.” Hand movements did not have an effect on “fast” versions, but did result in slower “slow” versions than when no movements were used. The request to sing “smooth” appeared to be easier for the subjects to comply with than the request to sing “choppy,” and the inclusion of movement did not affect these responses.

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