DECODING THE MUSIC LANGUAGE: THE KEY INGREDIENT FOR AN INDEPENDENT MUSICIAN - Natalie Andreoli Public

The purpose of my research was to examine sight-singing strategies from both the teacher and student perspective. I examined the teaching of two high school choral directors in "Summer Spring", FL. Data sources included an interview with the directors, artifacts from a conference presentation by the directors, field notes from class observations and a student survey. The student survey included questions regarding the students' perceptions of various sight-singing strategies.Data from the interviews revealed four themes related to the success of sight-singing instruction: anchor points, environment, individual accountability, and resources. These themes were supported by the live classroom observations and the student surveys. Anchor points are a sight-singing strategy in which students find all occurences of the pitches "do-mi-sol" within a musical example. Environment was shown through classroom strategies and making signing an obvious priority. In regard to individual accountability, students were expected to be ready with individual answers during class, and auditions for choral ensembles included a sight-singing component. A helpful resource for "Michael" and "Sally" in structuring sight-singing instruction and assessment is the Florida State Assessment Rubric. The Florida state manual dictates the expectations at six levels in terms of rhythm, melody, and harmony.Student’s perceptions of helpful sight-singing strategies were ranked in the following order, from most helpful to least helpful: solfege syllables, hand signs, scale degree numbers, and isolation of rhythm and pitch. Their own sight-singing strategies favored anchor points, hand signs, and solfege. Over 50% of the students surveyed did not agree with the statement, "When sight-singing a piece of music, I feel confident."

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