A Longitudinal Study of Elementary Children's Acquisition of Their Singing Voices

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<ul><li><p> http://upd.sagepub.com/Education</p><p>Update: Applications of Research in Music</p><p> http://upd.sagepub.com/content/22/1/1The online version of this article can be found at:</p><p> DOI: 10.1177/87551233020220010401</p><p> 2002 22: 1Update: Applications of Research in Music EducationJoanne Rutkowski and Martha Snell Miller</p><p>A Longitudinal Study of Elementary Children's Acquisition of Their Singing Voices </p><p>Published by:</p><p> http://www.sagepublications.com</p><p>On behalf of: </p><p> National Association for Music Education</p><p> can be found at:Update: Applications of Research in Music EducationAdditional services and information for </p><p> http://upd.sagepub.com/cgi/alertsEmail Alerts: </p><p> http://upd.sagepub.com/subscriptionsSubscriptions: </p><p> http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.navReprints: </p><p> http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.navPermissions: </p><p> http://upd.sagepub.com/content/22/1/1.refs.htmlCitations: </p><p> What is This? </p><p>- May 1, 2002Version of Record &gt;&gt; </p><p> at CARLETON UNIV on November 30, 2014upd.sagepub.comDownloaded from at CARLETON UNIV on November 30, 2014upd.sagepub.comDownloaded from </p><p>http://upd.sagepub.com/http://upd.sagepub.com/content/22/1/1http://www.sagepublications.comhttp://www.nafme.orghttp://upd.sagepub.com/cgi/alertshttp://upd.sagepub.com/subscriptionshttp://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.navhttp://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.navhttp://upd.sagepub.com/content/22/1/1.refs.htmlhttp://upd.sagepub.com/content/22/1/1.full.pdfhttp://online.sagepub.com/site/sphelp/vorhelp.xhtmlhttp://upd.sagepub.com/http://upd.sagepub.com/</p></li><li><p>UPDATE, Fall-Winter 2003, 5</p><p>A Longitudinal Study of Elementary Childrens Acquisition of Their Singing VoicesJoanne Rutkowski and Martha Snell Miller</p><p> Joanne Rutkowski is professor of music education in the School of Music at PennsylvaniaState University, and Martha Snell Miller is a music teacher at Foot of Ten Elementary Schoolin Duncansville, PA.</p><p> Singing has been a basic activity of general music since music was first included in theUnited States public school curricula in 1838. Consequently, teaching all children to sing hasbeen a goal of general music instruction. In fact, the first of nine content standards included inthe National Standards for Music Education is Singing, alone and with others, a variedrepertoire of music (Consortium of National Arts Education Associations, 1994, p. 26).However, since some children do not seem to sing naturally, teachers are continually searchingfor means of helping all children learn to sing. Researchers have also had an interest in thisperplexing problem, and numerous studies have been conducted to determine effective strategiesfor helping children learn to sing. These include a speech to song method (Gould, 1968;Roberts &amp; Davies, 1975, 1976; Romaine, 1961; Solomon, 1994), breath control techniques(Phillips, 1985, 1992), varying types of accompaniment (Atterbury &amp; Silcox, 1993; Hale[Runfola], 1977; May, 1993; Sterling, 1985; Whitman, 1971), use of a tape recorder (Klemish,1974), use of a vertical keyboard (Jones, 1979), use of kazoos (Runfola, 1981), various vocalmodels (Price, Yarbrough, Jones, &amp; Moore, 1994; Small &amp; McCachern, 1983), individual versusunison singing (Cooper, 1995; Goetze, 1985; Goetze &amp; Horii, 1989; Smale, 1987), andindividual, small group, or large group instruction (Gaiser, 1961; Jersild &amp; Bienstock, 1931,1934; Richner, 1976; Rutkowski, 1996; Rutkowski &amp; Miller, 2003; Smith, 1963). However,one of the most persistent problems in music education at the elementary level is the inaccuratesinger (Klemish, 1974, p. 36). Even in studies where a strategy has been shown to significantlyaffect childrens singing ability (Rutkowski, 1996; Rutkowski &amp; Miller, 2003, for example),some of the children still are not able to use a singing voice. In addition, although some researchhas shown that singing ability improves with age (Bentley, 1968; Boardman, 1964; Davies &amp;Roberts, 1975; Geringer, 1983; Goetze, 1985; Goetze &amp; Horii, 1989; Petzold, 1963), more recentdata indicate that this may not be the case. Levinowitz et al. (1998) failed to find a statisticallysignificant difference in the use of childrens singing voices in Grades 1 through 6 (p. 41), and7590% of their sample were non-singers. Furthermore, it is not unusual to find adults who donot have use of their singing voices (Lidman-Magnusson, 1998), although the incidence of poorsingers in the adult population has not been widely documented. Although singing has been included in general music instruction and numerous strategies forhelping children learn to sing have been identified, some children leave formal music instructionunable to sing. Perhaps it is just unrealistic to assume that all children can be taught to singwithin the structure of general music classes that often meet only once a week for 30 or 40minutes. Based on results of their 1995 study, Rutkowski and Miller recommended that a groupof children be studied over a period of time to investigate their singing-voice acquisition in ageneral music setting. Therefore, the purpose of this longitudinal study was to investigate the</p><p> at CARLETON UNIV on November 30, 2014upd.sagepub.comDownloaded from </p><p>http://upd.sagepub.com/</p></li><li><p>UPDATE, Fall-Winter 2003, 6</p><p>feasibility of helping all children learn to use their singing voices within the traditional generalmusic class setting. Specific questions were: 1. Will children exhibit significant gains in use of singing voice, as measured by the SingingVoice Development Measure (Rutkowski, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1998a), between: The beginning of first grade and the end of first grade? The end of first grade and the beginning of third grade? The beginning of third grade and the end of third grade? The end of third grade and the beginning of fifth grade? The beginning of fifth grade and the end of fifth grade? 2. How many children will have use of their singing voices: At the beginning and end of first grade? At the beginning and end of third grade? At the beginning and end of fifth grade?</p><p>Procedures Twenty-eight children from one elementary school in central Pennsylvania participated in thisstudy during their first- and third-grade years. Three children in this sample moved to a differentschool between third and fifth grades, so the fifth-grade sample consisted of 25 children. Allchildren received music instruction from the same general music teacher once a week for 40minutes since first grade. All general music classes consisted of large-group, small-group, andindividual singing activities, rhythmic/movement activities, and listening activities. As inprevious studies (Rutkowski, 1996; Rutkowski &amp; Miller, 2003, in press), small-group singingwas introduced prior to individual singing. Test administration. At the beginning and end of first grade, third grade, and fifth grade, theSinging Voice Development Measure (SVDM), an instrument designed to measure childrens useof singing voice (Rutkowski, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1998a), was administered by the music teacherto all subjects. In preparation for administration of SVDM, the children practiced the patterns inthe large-group setting following the exact procedure that was used for individual testing (Figure1). For individual testing, each child reported to a familiar, private room where his or her voicewas tape recorded as he or she echoed the teacher singing the SVDM patterns. Half of thechildren echoed all of the patterns first on text and then all of the patterns on the neutral syllablebum; the other half of the children echoed the patterns on the neutral syllable first. This sameprocedure was followed for all administrations of SVDM. Previous research results have beencontradictory regarding the use of a neutral syllable or text for evaluating childrens singing(Goetze, 1985; Levinowitz, 1987; Rutkowski, 1993; Smale, 1987), so use of both has beenrecommended for SVDM (Rutkowski, 1993, 1998a). Scoring SVDM. Two raters, who had previously used SVDM to rate childrens singingvoices, were employed to score SVDM for this study. Tape recordings were prepared for eachrater. Performances were presented in random order on the tapes, so raters were unaware of thetest to which they were listening. All performances were rated during the summer immediatelyfollowing the school year in which they were recorded. The raters were unaware of the ages ofthe children who were singing on the tape, were not told that they were rating the same children, and did not know the purpose of the study for which they were rating. The rating scale used by </p><p> at CARLETON UNIV on November 30, 2014upd.sagepub.comDownloaded from </p><p>http://upd.sagepub.com/</p></li><li><p>UPDATE, Fall-Winter 2003, 7</p><p>Figure 1. SVDM: Procedures for Test Administrator</p><p>1. Play the first pattern in the tone bells or piano (ex: see the bird).</p><p>2. Sing the first pattern for the children with the text or bum. Do not use anyaccompaniment.</p><p>3. Have the children echo. Again, do not use any accompaniment.</p><p>4. Repeat steps 13 with each pattern.</p><p>5. Do not pause in between any of the above steps.</p><p>6. For half of the group of children, perform steps 15 on text first, then on bum; for theother half, perform steps 15 on bum first, then on text.</p><p>PATTERNS:</p><p>each rater is presented in Figure 2. The raters completed their evaluations privately; they werenot together while rating the performances.</p><p>Results The degree to which the raters were consistent with each other in using SVDM wasdetermined by computing correlation coefficients. These coefficients, ranging from .738 to .956(all significant at p &lt; .0001), were all within an acceptable range and indicate that the raters usedthe SVDM similarly when rating the childrens singing-voice performances. Statistical analyses were performed to determine any significant gains in use of singing voicefrom the beginning of first grade to the end of first grade, from the end of first grade to thebeginning of third grade, from the beginning of third grade to the end of third grade, from theend of third grade to the beginning of fifth grade, and from the beginning of fifth grade to theend of fifth grade. Significant differences existed for both text and neutral syllable performances between the end of first grade and the beginning of third grade as well as from the beginning of </p><p> at CARLETON UNIV on November 30, 2014upd.sagepub.comDownloaded from </p><p>http://upd.sagepub.com/</p></li><li><p>UPDATE, Fall-Winter 2003, 8</p><p>Figure 2. SVDM: Rating Scale </p><p>1 Pre-singer does not sing but chants the song text.</p><p>1.5 Inconsistent Speaking Range Singer sometimes chants, sometimes sustains tonesand exhibits some sensitivity to pitch but remains in the speaking voice range(usually A2 to C3).</p><p>2 Speaking Range Singer sustains tones and exhibits some sensitivity to pitch butremains in the speaking voice range (usually A2 to C3).</p><p>2.5 Inconsistent Limited Range Singer wavers between speaking and singing voiceand uses a limited range when in singing voice (usually up to F3).</p><p>3 Limited Range Singer exhibits consistent use of limited singing range (usuallyD3 to F3).</p><p>3.5 Inconsistent Initial Range Singer sometimes only exhibits use of limited singingrange, but other times exhibits use of initial singing range (usually D3 to A3).</p><p>4 Initial Range Singer exhibits consistent use of initial singing range (usually D3to A3).</p><p>4.5 Inconsistent Singer sometimes only exhibits use of initial singing range, butother times exhibits use of extended singing range (sings beyond the register lift:B3-flat and above).</p><p>5 Singer exhibits use of consistent extended singing range (sings beyond theregister lift: B3-flat and above).</p><p>fifth grade to the end of fifth grade. Other gains of interest were found from the beginning ofthird grade to the end of third grade for both neutral syllable and text performances (p &lt; .185 and.059) and from the end of third grade to the beginning of fifth grade for neutral syllableperformances (p &lt; .165). While these differences are not significant, the probabilities are near tothe confidence interval set (p &lt; .05), which implies they may have been significant with a largersample size. No significant gains were found from the beginning to the end of first grade forneutral syllable and text performances or from the end of third grade to the beginning of fifthgrade for text performances. Means and standard deviations for neutral syllable and text performances in each testingperiod are presented in Table 1. These scores are the sum of both raters scores; therefore, amean of 8 reflects a singing-voice level of 4 on SVDM. The number in parentheses representsthe SVDM scoring level. The average child in first grade was a limited range singer, at thebeginning of third grade was an initial range singer, at the end of third grade was an inconsistent singer, at the beginning of fifth grade was an initial range singer, and at the end</p><p> at CARLETON UNIV on November 30, 2014upd.sagepub.comDownloaded from </p><p>http://upd.sagepub.com/</p></li><li><p>UPDATE, Fall-Winter 2003, 9</p><p>Table 1. Means and Standard Deviations: SVDM Scores</p><p>Test (SVDM score) SD</p><p>Pre 1st grade (n=28)</p><p> Neutral Syllable 6.732 (3.37) 2.672 </p><p> Text 6.643 (3.32) 2.453</p><p>Post 1st grade (n=28)</p><p> Neutral Syllable 7.268 (3.63) 2.192</p><p> Text 6.821 (3.41) 2.001</p><p>Pre 3rd grade (n=28)</p><p> Neutral Syllable 8.482 (4.24) 1.761</p><p> Text 8.125 (4.06) 1.889</p><p>Post 3rd grade (n=28)</p><p> Neutral Syllable 9.018 (4.51) 1.167</p><p> Text 8.946 (4.47) 1.235</p><p>Pre 5th grade (n=25)</p><p> Neutral Syllable 8.660 (4.33) 1.477</p><p> Text 8.480 (4.24) 1.571</p><p>Post 5th grade (n=25)</p><p> Neutral Syllable 9.620 (4.81) 0.794</p><p> Text 9.320 (4.66) 1.019</p><p>of fifth grade was an inconsistent singer. Seventy-six percent of the fifth graders weresingers at the end of the year when performing on a neutral syllable. The larger standarddeviations for first-grade performances suggest that the students exhibited more diverse abilitiesregarding use of singing voice at this age. Third-grade performances reflected a morehomogeneous group. The fifth-grade standard deviations, particularly those for performances atthe end of fifth grade, reflected an even more homogeneous group. This is further evidenced byexamining the number of students at each scoring level for each testing period (see Table 2).Since these numbers reflect the average of both raters scores, levels in between the SVDMscores occur, such as 3.75. As can be seen, 82% of the students were initial range singers, </p><p> at CARLETON UNIV on November 30, 2014upd.sagepub.comDownloaded from </p><p>http://upd.sagepub.com/</p></li><li><p>UPDATE, Fall-Winter 2003, 10</p><p>Table 2. Number of Students for Each SVDM Score (average of 2 raters scores)</p><p>Total Pre 1st Post 1st Pre 3rd Post 3rd Pre 5th Post 5th</p><p>NS Text NS Text NS Text NS Text NS Text NS Text</p><p>5 5 4 4 5 7 5 12 11 8 9 19 13</p><p>4.75 1 2 4 3 5 3 4 5 5 2 1 5</p><p>4.5 3 1 2 2 5 8 3 2 2 1 2 2</p><p>4.25 - 1 1 2 3 1 1 2 1 3 - -</p><p>4.0 3 3 2 1 2 2 3 3 3 2 1 3</p><p>3.75 1 - 1 - - - 1 1 1 3 2 -</p><p>3.5 4 2 2 3 1 4 3 2 1 1 - 1</p><p>3.25 1 4 2 2 1 1 1 1...</p></li></ul>