The effect of model-supportive practice on beginning brass instrumentalists
By: Zean William Zurcher
Published: 1972
Uploaded: 10/19/2006
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Instruction and study, Wind instruments

William Zurcher
It was the purpose of the study to investigate whether cassette recorded models and instructions for home practice (model-supportive practice) would be more effective than traditional practice methods in improving performance achievement. A review of related literature indicated that (1) non-book programed instruction and computer-assisted instruction for instrumentalists parallel the results found in other subject areas, (2) differences between prompting, confirming, or simultaneous stimuli can not be said to be conclusive, (3) it has not been shown that there are significant differences between, aural, visual, or verbal feedback for beginning instrumentalists, and (4) imitative tendencies are learned and established through reinforcement and can be transferred to other similar situations.
The basic experimental design utilized is described by Campbell and Stanley (1963) as a Posttest-Only Control Group Design. However, the design was extended in order to posttest each weekly assignment over a period of six weeks. This permitted both weekly (vertical) and cumulative (horizontal) measurements of results.
Group A (N=21) R XO CO XO CO XO CO
Group B (N=22) R CO XO CO XO CO XO
N=Number of subjects
R=Random assignment
Forty-three beginning fourth, fifth, and sixth grade trumpet, horn, trombone, and baritone students from two elementary schools in Baldwin, New York, were randomly assigned to an experimental and a control group for the first week of practice. Each week thereafter the groups rotated treatments.
An original method book was used and an individual cassette tape and recorder were issued weekly to each experimental S. Each tape included instructions, reminders, and model ˘play-along÷ performances of the music.
Each S received a weekly 15-minute individual lesson from the investigator during which posttests of assigned material were administered. Following each posttest needed corrections were made and instructions given for the next lesson. New lesson booklets and tapes were distributed and previous booklets and tapes collected each week. Ss were not permitted to repeat lessons.
Normally distributed cumulative data (an experimental and a control score for each S) were analyzed with t tests for correlated data. Product-moment correlations were used to evaluate raw data reliability.
Reliability results on the collection of raw data are as follows:
1. Pitch Errors: r = .99
2. Tempo Stability: r = .99
3. Pitch Matching: r = .99
4. Fingering and Slide Errors: r = .98
5. Rhythm Errors: r = .99
6. Total Practice Time: r = .74
Six null hypotheses (which were required to meet at least a .05 level of significance on a two-tailed test in order to be rejected) were tested, resulting in the following conclusions:
1. Model-supportive practice is more effective than traditional practice in reducing pitch errors exceeding Ž100 cents.
2. There is no difference between model-supportive practice and traditional practice in establishing tempo stability.
3. Model-supportive practice is more effective than traditional practice in developing pitch-matching skills.
4. There is no difference between model-supportive practice and traditional practice in reducing the number of fingering or slide position errors.
5. Model-supportive practice is more effective than traditional practice in reducing rhythm errors.
6. Model-supportive practice is more effective than traditional practice in increasing the time spent in practice.
Since a difference was shown between the two treatments in total practice time, the question must be raised of whether differences in performance achievement were caused by increased practice or by the model-supportive nature of the practice tapes. Spearman rank correlation coefficients showed no correlation whatever between total practice time and performance achievement. Performance differences which do exist may then be attributed to the model-supportive nature of the practice tapes, i.e., to the quality and not the quantity of practice.

Sponsor: R. Douglas Greer
Dissertation Committee: J. Marion Magill
Degree: Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University