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Sight-Singing Systems in Collegiate Choral Curricula

Title: Sight-Singing Systems in Collegiate Choral Curricula: An Examination of Conductors' Best Practices at Degree-Granting Institutions of the National Association of Schools of Music.
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Name(s): Potter, Adam A. (Adam Andrew), author
Bowers, Judy K. (Judy Kay), 1949-, professor directing dissertation
Okerlund, David, university representative
Darrow, Alice-Ann, committee member
Thomas, Andre J. (Andre Jerome), committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Music, degree granting college
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2015
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (224 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The purpose of this study was to describe the current state of sight-singing pedagogy in choral ensembles at degree-granting institutions in the United States accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. A survey of collegiate choral conductors was designed and distributed nationwide. In total, 33.3% (N = 363) of those invited to participate responded. Substantial data were collected from conductors who indicated they occasionally integrated a sight-singing system into their choral rehearsals for specific purposes (n = 137) and those who indicated they frequently used a sight-singing system as a key rehearsal tool (n = 114). In addition, interviews with three survey participants were conducted for a more in-depth examination of their unique philosophies and practices. Survey data revealed that there was no significant difference between the number of choral conductors who did not use or very rarely used a system for music-reading, those who occasionally integrated a sight-singing system into their rehearsals for specific purposes, and those for whom a sight-singing system was a key rehearsal tool that they used frequently. However, among respondents in the latter two categories who did not hold a degree in music education, there was a significant (p = .018) preference for occasional rather than frequent use of a sight-singing system. Among those who occasionally or frequently used a system there was a significant preference for movable-Do solfège for major-key tonal solmization (p < .001), movable-Do solfège (tonic is "La") for minor-key tonal solmization (p = .001), and instrumental counting ("1-e-&-a 2") for rhythmic solmization (p < .001). Among those who frequently used a system, the data showed a significant decline in both the number of days per week they provided sight-singing instruction at the beginning of term, at the middle of term, and at the end of term (p < .01) as well as between the number of minutes per rehearsal they provided sight-singing instruction during those three periods of the semester (p < .01). Among those who frequently used a system, choral literature being prepared for performance was the significant first-choice, selected by 88%, of materials used to teach sight-singing. Among the same participants, 14% individually assessed their students' sight-singing, 44% sometimes did, and 43% did not. For conductors who frequently used a system, the most important perceived benefit of doing so was enabling their choirs to learn music faster. The attitude statements about which conductors agreed most strongly were that sight-singing ability is an important skill for all collegiate choral singers and that sight-singing ability should be a prerequisite for auditioned collegiate choral ensembles. Conductors who occasionally used a system agreed significantly more strongly with the latter statement than those who frequently did (p < .04), while conductors who frequently used a system agreed significantly more strongly with the statement that students generally enjoy instructional time devoted to sight-singing than those who occasionally did (p < .001). Music educators felt significantly stronger that empowering their students for lifelong music-making and improving performances were benefits of systematic sight-singing instruction than non-music educators did. Conductors contacted for interviews emphasized the importance of fostering choral rehearsal cultures in which complete musicianship and musical literacy are valued and provided philosophical and practical reasons for doing so. They outlined possible challenges to instituting choral sight-singing at the collegiate level as well as potential solutions to those difficulties. They also discussed the effects of sight-singing instruction on relationships with music theory and music education faculty.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-9667 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Summer Semester 2015.
Date of Defense: July 17, 2015.
Keywords: literacy, music, reading, sight-singing, solfege
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Judy Bowers, Professor Directing Dissertation; David Okerlund, University Representative; Alice-Ann Darrow, Committee Member; André J. Thomas, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Music -- Instruction and study
Music
Education, Higher
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_migr_etd-9667
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Host Institution: FSU

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Potter, A. A. (A. A. ). (2015). Sight-Singing Systems in Collegiate Choral Curricula: An Examination of Conductors' Best Practices at Degree-Granting Institutions of the National Association of Schools of Music. Retrieved from http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_migr_etd-9667