Music education and the learning disabled : the effects of movement programming and class placement
Stephens, Kay L.
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This five-month study investigated the effects of different types of movement programming and class size upon the in-tune singing and memory for melodic phrases of 25 learning disabled students, 6 to 11 years old, enrolled in a suburban elementary public school. Music classroom behaviors (singing participation, auditory discrimination for music sounds, motor skills, overall attending and self-confidence) were rated by a trained observer during all treatment sessions. The influence of balance-related activities upon on-task behaviors and music-related motor skills was also addressed. Subjects were pre- and post-tested on reading skills and auditory memory for words. Data were gathered through the use of a constructed music test, standardized tests, daily observation charts, and anecdotal records. Posttreatment student feedback was tape-recorded. Results indicated significant improvement for all self-contained music class groups in the areas of intune singing and memory for melodic phrases; subjects in the mainstreamed music classes realized losses in both areas. All groups showed improvement in music classroom behaviors. Students with attentional deficits demonstrated improved on-task behaviors and music-related motor skills when using modified balance equipment during instruction. Although all project groups improved in reading abilities and memory for related words, the most significant gain was noted in memory for related words. Subjects indicated overwhelming preference for the self- contained setting. Although movement activities were seen to enhance music programming, small class size and high student interest appeared to influence more significantly the acquisition and development of certain music skills.