Today, Dr. Michael Simmons successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at
SONG RECOGNITION AMONG SCHOOL CHILDREN: THE INTEGRATION OF WORDS AND MUSIC
Here is the abstract:
The purpose of this study was to examine how music aptitude, music training, and age affect the integration of words and music in memory, and how this process may, in turn, influence the recognition of familiar and novel songs among elementary school students. Two-hundred and twelve students ages 6 through 11 participated in the study. A song recognition test (Morrongiello & Roes, 1990a; Serafine, Crowder, & Repp, 1984) and two music aptitude tests - Primary Measures of Music Audiation and Intermediate Measure of Music Audiation (Gordon, 1986) - served as the principal data collection instruments.
To assess the main effects on the proportion of correct responses on the familiar and novel song recognition tests, a 4 X 3 X 2 Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was performed. The results showed age as the one independent variable to have a significant effect on familiar song recognition, F(3, 188) = 14.145, p = .000, while both music aptitude (composite) F(2, 186) = 4.173, p = .017 and age F(3, 186) = 3.017, p = .031 revealed a significant effect on novel song recognition. No significant two-way or three-way interactions were identified. In addition, the results show that music aptitude and training had no bearing on the integration of words and music in memory, and although it appears that age slightly minimizes its influence on song recall tasks, a significant asymmetry favoring text was sustained.
Dr. Michael Simmons is an accomplished professional guitarist and music educator who has taught extensively for various schools and colleges in the Philadelphia area. His dissertation study sheds new light on how songs are memorized by children, and the role of words in relation to music in the learning of songs. With replication, research of this kind will likely lead to improved understandings of the effectiveness of various approaches to the teaching of song repertoire to young children.
It was a pleasure to serve as supervisory professor for this doctoral dissertation. Dr. Diana Dansereau (of Boston University) also offered stringent critique and invaluable advice that was of great help in guiding the application of statistical procedures and analysis in the study, and Dr. Jay Dorfman (Boston University) chaired our defense hearing and provided several helpful comments on the write-up of the study, particularly regarding its concluding narrative and some additional revisions.