UK Professors Present Music Ed Research in Brazil

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2014) – This past July, members of the music education faculty represented the University of Kentucky School of Music at the 31st International Society for Music Education (ISME) World Conference in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The biennial conference serves as an opportunity for researchers and practitioners from across the world to meet and contribute their findings and experiences to the field of music education.

More than 1,000 attendees at ISME represented countries and universities from six continents around the world. In addition to the numerous spoken papers, symposia, workshops and research poster sessions, conference attendees had the opportunity to experience a variety of culturally diverse musical performances. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) founded ISME in 1953 to foster and support music education across the globe and in all communities and for all individuals and groups.

Professors Cecilia Wang and David Sogin, coordinator of the UK Music Education Division, presented research titled "Preservice Teachers’ Observation of General Music Teaching in a Different Cultural Setting." The purpose of this research is to examine the effect of instruction about teacher effectiveness on the evaluation of a general music lesson from a different culture and to examine whether generalist teachers are able to discern good music teaching techniques in a different cultural context.

Participants for Wang and Sogin's study were asked to view a 10-minute video of an excerpt from a general-music lesson in a country from the East and to complete two rating forms. The experimental group was given instruction to identify factors of teacher effectiveness by the course instructor prior to viewing the stimulus tape whereas the control group did not receive such instruction. The video stimulus was extracted from one of several original 40-minute lessons that the authors have analyzed in detail. The video was considered a typical lesson demonstrating listening activities related to a piece of western instrumental music in a dance form. Participants were asked to “ignore” the language from the video but observe both teacher and student behaviors and interactions.

The quantitative data from both forms as well as the comments by participants Win Wang and Sogin's study provide the data for analysis. The results were presented by comparing the ratings of the experimental group to those of the control group. Discussion largely focused on the assessment of teacher effectiveness by these students, the effect of instruction of identifying teaching techniques, lesson objectives, teacher and student behaviors, learning climate, and cultural factors to be considered. Strategies to improve teacher training in general music for the generalists and cultural diversity were also presented.

Michael Hudson, assistant professor of music education, and doctoral candidate John Egger, of Ridgeland, Mississippi, presented the findings of their study titled "Musical and Social Influences on Participation in an LGBA International Community Ensemble." Members of LGBA (Lesbian and Gay Band Association) sponsored community concert bands from the U.S., Canada, Australia and Ireland responded to a survey constructed specifically for this study.

Results of Hudson and Egger's research indicated that performance opportunity (31 percent) was the most important factor in a musician's decision to join an LGBA community ensemble followed by musical excellence (23 percent), a sense of community (20 percent), promotion of a gay organization (14 percent), and socialization (10 percent).  When asked to choose what was most important when deciding to participate in an LGBA ensemble, participants indicated that both social and musical reasons were factors in their decision to participate (47 percent) followed by strictly musical reasons (42 percent), strictly social reasons (6 percent), and neither (1 percent). Participants could also list their own personal reasons (4 percent) as to what was most important in their decision to participate. Other reasons included LGBT advocacy, making a political statement, and creating a safe and supportive environment for the members of the LGBTQ community

Former UK School of Music graduate D. Greg Springer, who is now a faculty member and director of music education at Boise State University, presented an exploratory study of listeners’ affective responses to music using linguistic inquiry. Psychologists and other researchers have measured listeners’ affective responses to music using various static and continuous methods, but few have measured affective responses as manifested in linguistic patterns.

The purpose of Springer's exploratory study was to analyze listeners’ affective responses to music based on the linguistic content of their free-response writings. Participants listened to four excerpts of solo piano music and wrote free responses describing the music. Responses were analyzed using "Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count" software to investigate the following dimensions: word count; general affect words; positive emotion words; and negative emotion words. For each linguistic dimension, significant differences were observed among the four excerpts.

Results of Springer's research suggest that, although listeners’ use of general affect words was influenced by tempo, their use of positive emotion words and negative emotion words was affected by specific excerpt, rather than tempo. This finding suggests that listeners’ written responses are influenced by other perceptual variables. Implications and suggestions for further research were discussed.

The UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.

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