Title

YOUNG CHILDREN'S RESPONSE TO INTERPRETATION IN MUSIC AND SPEECH (EDUCATION, CURRICULUM)

Date of Completion

January 1986

Keywords

Education, Music

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The abilities of four-, five- and six-year-old children to perceive changes in culturally identifiable interpretive differences of speech and musical performance were studied. Observations took place in two public schools with a total sample of 57 children. The study was constructed using two modes, visual and auditory, with a minimal dependence on verbal communication. The visual stimuli were presented as a test of methodology. The auditory stimuli required subjects to group categories of interpretation in speech, singing, and cello playing. Data were also taken for age and social maturity (IQ) as measured by the projective, Goodenough-Harris Draw-A-Man Test.^ Results revealed that all subjects' mean scores were significantly above chance on the musical interpretation tasks. The five- and six-year-old subject mean score was also above chance level on the speech task. The four-year-old subject mean score was not significantly above chance level on the speech task. There was a significant difference in task performance across age groups. Social maturity scores (IQ) did not provide a significant increase in the multiple regression value.^ This study showed that a test can be developed using nonverbal techniques through which young children are able to demonstrate their understanding of music and speech interpretation. This implies that young children's attention can be focused upon expressive elements in music and speech before he or she has the terminology to verbally describe these elements. ^