Learning to toot your own horn: preservice teachers integrating music into a childhood classroom.
The Music Educators National Conference (MENC) addressed standards in music content areas that children should achieve (MENC, 1994). Those standards are: 1) singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music; 2) performing on instruments; 3) improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments; 4) composing and arranging music within specific guidelines; 5) reading and notating music; 6) listening to, analyzing, and describing music; 7) evaluating music and music performances; 8) understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts; and 9) understanding music in relation to history and culture. These standards often become the teaching responsibility of childhood classroom teachers, who are expected to be generalists. Byo (2000) explained that generalists are considerably less comfortable than music specialists in teaching all of the content standards in music. In addition, classroom teachers feel less responsible to teach music when they have music specialists in their schools (Byo, 2000).
Howard Gardner acknowledged that many different and discrete facets of cognition exist, and that people have different cognitive strengths and contrasting cognitive styles (Gardner, 1983, 1993). Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences proposes that there are at least eight different types of "intelligences" rather than just one single quotient; musical intelligence is one of them. Gardner also (1997) explained that "music may be a privileged organizer of cognitive processes, especially among young people" (p. 9). Studies show that music education may affect the development of children's neural pathways (Campbell, 1986; Sarnthein et al., 1997; Shore & Strasser, 2006). A neuroscientific framework provides insight to the relationship between musical and other areas, such as spatial intelligences (Leng & Shaw, 1991; MENC, 2000). The framework shows that certain neural firing patterns, organized in a complex spatial-temporal code over large regions of cortex, are exploited by both musical and spatial reasoning tasks. It also proposes that integrating music education in the early childhood curriculum would enhance young children's performance of spatial-temporal tasks (Rauscher & Zupan, 2000).
In early childhood classrooms, Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences and the neuroscientific frameworks create areas for teachers to think about practical uses and applications in schools (Levin, 1994). Based on Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, it is the teacher's responsibility to integrate diversified instructional techniques to help all students' learning in school. Even though classroom teachers often are less comfortable teaching music than music specialists are, gaining a better understanding of Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences (1983) can enable teachers to capitalize on students' different learning styles and kinds of intelligence.
Moreover, teachers should know that "learning always involves conscious and unconscious processes ... and teaching needs to be designed to help students benefit maximally from unconscious processing" (Caine & Caine, 1994, p. 92). Many classroom teachers integrate music as a way to gain the children's attention and motivate their learning. For example, teachers use music as a vehicle for other academic objects, such as singing a song to memorize certain concepts. Others use music as a way to enhance the overall mood of the classroom, such as playing background music or as an entry to participation in school or community events, such as holiday concerts (Bresler, 1995). However, teachers seldom integrate musical concepts, or regard them as being on the same level of importance as other subjects (Baker & Saunders, 1994; Bresler, 1993; Giles & Frego, 2004; Propst, 2003; Whitaker, 1996). Many teachers say that they would like to spend more time incorporating music, but state they need to spend more time in other subjects to prepare children for standardized proficiency tests (Bresler, 1993; Persky, Sandene, & Askew, 1998). However, time may not be the only factor considered, because integrated curriculum is not a matter of distributing time to each subject, but of incorporating aspects and elements of different subjects across the curriculum. Integrating music into curriculum may be difficult when teachers have limited knowledge of the subject, or when it is presented through different perspectives (Brophy & Alleman, 1991; Mason, 1996). For example, a teacher who does not have musical content knowledge may think that s/he can integrate music just by using the same tune, but varying the words for different subjects.
Studies have suggested different ways to integrate curriculum across subject areas (Beane, 1995; Copple & Bredekamp, 1997; Forgarty, 1991; Manins, 1994; Wardle, 1999; Wilcox, 1994). However, classroom teachers often lack confidence in understanding music and integrating it into the classroom, because they have limited content knowledge and support (Barry, 1992; Choy & Kim, 2007; Kim, 2000; Mullins, 1993; Shaughnessy, 2004). Studies indicate that music integration is related to teachers' perceived musical ability and self-efficacy in teaching music (Apfelstadt, 1989; Barry, 1992; Bresler, 1993; Giles & Frego, 2004).
Self-efficacy is the belief in one's capabilities to organize and execute the sources of action required to manage prospective situations (Bandura, 1986). It involves two components: 1) an individual's self-perceptions on his/her competence and 2) outcome expectancy towards specific result. Teachers' self-efficacy influences and correlates with their behavioral responses and classroom practices (Bandura, 1977; Gerges, 2001; Omrod, 2004; Pajares, 1996). For example, high self-efficacy teachers are open to experimenting with and reflecting on new teaching concepts (Imants & Tillema, 1995) and more likely to use new teaching approaches (Gibson & Dembo, 1984). As a result, students participate more readily, work harder, persist longer when they encounter difficulties, and achieve at a higher level (Goddard, Hoy, & Woolfolk-Hoy, 2000; Lowman, 1996; Margolis & McCabe, 2003; Rimm-Kaufman & Sawyer, 2004; Shaughnessy, 2004; Tollefso, 2000). In order to assist preservice teachers in transferring their knowledge and improving self-efficacy, Palinscar and Brown (1984) suggested that content knowledge should be presented in the context of problem solving, rather than direct information presentations. They also suggested that students who learn best with an emphasis on metacognition and vicarious learning, such as using reflections and problem-solving situations, are more likely to transfer their knowledge into other contexts.
As previous literature suggested that classroom teachers' confidence in integrating musical concepts is related to content knowledge, can teacher education programs prepare preservice teachers to integrate music in classrooms? Considering the fact that childhood education programs offer a very limited number of music education courses, we also need to know whether one music education course providing practical teaching experience to teach with music can have an effect on preservice teachers' perspectives and confidence in teaching music.
The purpose of this study is to find out if a preservice multidisciplinary course effectively prepares teacher candidates to integrate music in classrooms. Based on literature identifying contributors to the likelihood that preservice teachers will be prepared to do so, this research aimed to investigate and compare the change of preservice teachers' perspectives and confidence after taking a music education course. The study examines changes in:
1. Knowledge of musical concepts and teaching
2. Skills to play and teach music
3. Attitudes toward music and music integration.
A multidisciplinary course in a childhood education program in an urban public university was used for the study. The music education course is part of a larger, multidisciplinary course that includes music, math, and science and is designed to equip preservice teachers with the knowledge and skills essential to interdisciplinary teaching at the elementary level.
The course met three times a week--Tuesday mornings, Tuesday afternoons, and Thursday mornings--for a 15-week semester. This schedule made it possible not only to cover three different subjects at campus college classes but also to practice in childhood education settings. In the first five weeks of the course, the class met at the college classrooms to build up subject content knowledge. Preservice teachers learned musical knowledge through defining terms, gained hands-on experience through different musical activities, and reflected on ways to integrate music into classrooms. They learned pedagogical skills through singing, moving to, creating, and listening to music. The textbook The Musical Teacher: Preparing Teachers To Use Music in the Childhood Classroom (Kim, 2004) was used because it was written for classroom teachers who are not necessarily musicians. It consists of balanced knowledge in content, pedagogy, and the curricular area. The book also uses a constructivist approach to challenge preservice teachers' understanding and to build knowledge and skills in music. Concepts from the book as well as musical contents were interwoven into the class (see Figure 1).
Starting from the sixth week of the course, the preservice teachers had opportunities to transform their musical knowledge into practice. During Thursday classes, preservice teachers met with one of the professors at the college classroom for lesson preparation in a small-group setting. The preservice teachers presented their music lesson plans to the professor. Each music lesson plan was designed and developed to integrate selected musical concept(s) into different subject areas. For example, a music lesson plan can be developed to integrate rhythm and beat into a lesson on fractions. The preservice teachers shared their lesson plans in class; they received peer feedback as well as suggestions from the professor to make improvements. On subsequent Tuesdays, the preservice teachers would go to an elementary school classroom and stay for an entire school day. During the day, they observed one class and wrote reflective journals on music integration in the classroom. Under the professor's supervision, they also taught the music lesson to a group of children according to their music lesson plan. At the end of their lesson, they conducted self-evaluations and attended a debriefing session with the professor to discuss and reflect on their teaching experience.
The configuration of this course was innovative in that a method course combines practicum in balance (see Figure 2). It helps preservice teachers connect theory into practice instead of separating one from the other. By designing and teaching a music lesson, preservice teachers can get different types of feedback at different times: 1) feedback from a professor and peers on the lesson plan, 2) feedback from children while teaching a lesson, and 3) self-evaluation and feedback from a professor on their teaching. This feedback helps preservice teachers transform musical concepts appropriately for learners. Preservice teachers not only teach music lessons but also observe classes with specific guidelines. This gives preservice teachers opportunities to see and analyze the environment, activities, and children's behavior in a regular classroom from a musical perspective.
A combination of quantitative and qualitative data was collected for the study. For quantitative data, surveys were distributed to students at the first and the last week of class for multiple semesters. The authors explained the purpose of the study and invited preservice students to participate in the study. The surveys were kept anonymous to ensure confidentiality of their responses. They were coded so that at the end of the data collection process, the pre-semester surveys could be paired up with the post-semester surveys for further statistical analysis. The survey was developed based on a collection of instruments from previous studies (Bandura, 1989; Betz & Hackett, 1983; Pajares & Miller, 1994). It was divided into four major categories to ascertain preservice teachers' general attitudes toward music, self-perception of their musical knowledge and skills, perspectives on classroom teachers' musical knowledge and skills, and perspectives on music integration in the childhood curriculum. It consisted of 32 statements on a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree." Some sample questions from the survey are included in Figure 3. The reliability Cronbach alpha of the survey is 0.91 at the beginning and 0.94 at the end of the multidisciplinary course.
Qualitative information was collected to support the quantitative results in this study. Weekly reflective journals and one-on-one interviews during the debriefing sessions at the end of the semester were used to collect qualitative information. Preservice teachers were asked to reflect on their subject knowledge, skills, and feelings on each subject, and on integrated curriculum, on a weekly basis throughout the 15-week semester. Guiding questions were provided to scaffold preservice teachers' thoughts. For example, they were given different reflective questions at different stages of the course to guide their reflective thinking process. At the beginning, they were asked to reflect on such questions as: "What do you think about your knowledge in music and/or to teach music?" During the first few weeks of the classroom practicum, they were asked to reflect on: "What kind of knowledge did you learn and how would it help you teach children in the classrooms?" and "How do you try to integrate musical concepts into lessons that you have observed?" In the latter part of the semester, the questions changed to: "Do you think you were able to teach the musical knowledge to children? Why do you say so?" and "How did the multidisciplinary course, the lesson planning sessions, and the practicum help you to integrate music into lessons?" These reflective questions were derived from the survey to further explain the results from the quantitative data analysis. While the survey addresses the research questions about the changes in the preservice teachers' knowledge about musical concepts, skills in playing musical instruments, and their attitudes, the reflective journals and interviews helped reveal any changes in the teachers' knowledge, skills, and attitudes, and if they integrated the knowledge into their teaching. All of the preservice teachers were required to submit their reflective journals.
One-on-one informal interviews were conducted by the instructor at the end of the semester with 24 selected preservice teachers. The purpose of the interviews was to ascertain feedback from the preservice teachers in three main aspects: how they have integrated music in their teaching during the course; why they chose to (or not to) integrate music in their teaching; and whether they were planning to integrate music into their future teaching.
One hundred ninety-six preservice teachers completed the survey in the first week of the course and 160 of them completed the survey at the end. These participants enrolled in a 300-level education course. None of them had any prior classroom teaching experience, because student teaching starts in the fourth year. All of the participants had completed their coursework in psychological and social foundations in education. They had not taken any musical content courses, as indicated by data collected from the presemester survey. The average age of the preservice teachers was 25 years old. Most of them were under 24 years old (70.9 percent), and about 10 percent of them were over 40 years old (see Table 1). There were 6 male participants in the beginning and 4 male participants at the end of semester survey.
Data Analysis and Results
Quantitative and qualitative data were categorized and analyzed in terms of preservice teachers' perspectives on, and confidence in, their knowledge, skills, and attitude toward music and music teaching. The preservice teachers' reflections and results from the interviews also will be presented under each section. Both researchers analyzed all of the reflective journals using the grounded theory in which themes emerge from the data. The researchers separately read through the journals and categorized the results into common themes. After that, themes derived from both researchers were compared, and the common themes identified by both researchers were finalized as the findings from the qualitative information. The qualitative results were then matched to the quantitative results to further support and explain the quantitative findings from the survey.
Knowledge of Musical Concepts and Music Teaching Methods
Knowledge of Musical Concepts. When asked, at the beginning of the semester, if they were familiar with eight musical concepts (form, timbre, dynamic, harmony, tempo, pitch, melody, and rhythm/beat), the preservice teachers indicated that they were not. The means of their musical concept knowledge ranged from 2.71 to 3.80: 83 percent of them responded that they disagree or strongly disagree with the statement: "I know timbre" (M = 2.46). Dynamic (M = 2.79) and form (M = 2.72) also showed similar results (see Table 2). On the other hand, some of the participants showed that they were familiar with some musical concepts, such as rhythm/beat (M = 3.81), melody (M = 3.58), and harmony (M = 3.52). At the end of the music education course, they perceived themselves as knowledgeable in all eight musical concepts. After the course's completion, the means of their musical concept knowledge ranged from 3.75 to 4.40. The standard deviations of all musical concepts were around 0.90 in the pre-semester survey; they dropped to about 0.60 for all musical concepts in the post-semester survey. T-tests showed significant improvements in participants' perception in knowledge of musical concepts before and after music education. For example, participants' self-perception of knowing timbre increased from 2.46 to 4.38 (t = -21.77, p < 0.01); dynamic increased from 2.77 to 4.35 (t = -19.42, p < 0.01); and pitch increased from 3.47 to 4.39 (t = -11.62, p < 0.01). The p-values were significant at 0.01 levels for all eight musical concepts (see Table 2). The significant increase is also reflected in preservice teachers' reflective journals; as one stated,
"I had never really been introduced to the actual meanings of beat and rhythm. This class really made me enjoy learning these concepts because it was so visual. It helped me to paint a picture and remember the musical concepts."
Confidence in Incorporating Musical Concepts. Participants responded to the questions of whether they can teach musical concepts, and the means ranged from 2.63 to 3.42 in the pre-semester survey: form (M = 2.64), timbre (M = 2.63), dynamic (M = 2.68), harmony (M = 3.10), tempo (M = 3.06), pitch (M = 3.13), melody (M = 3.22), and rhythm/beat (M = 3.42) (see Table 3). After they completed the 15 weeks of music education, the teachers' confidence in teaching children musical concepts increased. The average ratings increased to the range between 3.53 and 4.24, where most participants agreed that they can teach musical concepts to the children. T-tests also showed that the participants' confidence improved significantly before and after music education in teaching all eight musical concepts to the children. For example, the mean of participants' confidence in teaching musical concepts increased from 2.63 to 4.27 (t = -18.47, p < 0.01) for timbre and from 2.68 to 4.26 (t = -16.75, p < 0.01) for dynamic. The minimum increase was still significant, as shown in timbre, which increased from 2.64 to 3.53 (t = -8.66, p < 0.01). Therefore, the preservice teachers' confidence in teaching musical concepts increased significantly as their knowledge level increased (see Table 3).
Preservice teachers' confidence in integrating music is related to their understanding of musical concepts. In the following excerpts, taken from their journals at the beginning and at the end of the semester, preservice teachers showed different levels of confidence in teaching with music: "I think that an integrated curriculum is an excellent idea, because the students can better understand each subject by learning through different subjects. They can learn how everything is connected. As of this moment, however, I'm not confident at all to teach these subjects."
"I believe that this course prepared us quite well to teach this lesson. The interactive activities of the classes gave us a great introduction to the musical concepts. At first, I was a little skeptical when thinking about teaching beat and rhythm. However, my feelings about teaching music have changed. As long as I understand concepts, I feel confident."
Skills in Music and Teaching
Playing Musical Instruments. To know whether preservice teachers have music skills, the survey asked whether they played musical instruments in the following four categories: 1) string, such as violin; 2) wind, such as flute; 3) keyboard, such as piano; and 4) percussion, such as drum. Most of the preservice teachers reported that they did not perceive themselves to be able to play musical instruments at the beginning of the course. Less than five percent of the participants reported that they could play a string instrument; about 15 percent said that they could play a wind instrument; around 20 percent said that they could play keyboard; and only 10 percent said that they could play a percussion instrument (see Table 4). Those who indicated that they could play a musical instrument usually showed that they can play instruments in multiple categories. As a result, only about 20 percent of all participants reported that they were able to play at least one kind of musical instrument. At the end of the semester, the preservice teachers' self-perceptions changed, showing a slight increase in the percentage of those who thought that they could play either a string or wind instrument. The number who thought that they could play keyboard or percussion instruments increased by 10 percent. Considering the fact that most of the preservice teachers who took the course were not taking any other music lessons, statistical significant differences might have been influenced by course content that helped them read basic musical notes and symbols and to play on a xylophone. The course content could also remind some preservice teachers about what they had learned in playing musical instruments in the past. However, even though the statistical analysis showed that there are significant differences in all four categories, the percentage of the total number who could play musical instruments was still less than 20 percent.
Confidence in Teaching Music to Children of Different Ages. Even at the beginning of the semester, over half of the participants responded that they could teach music to children from pre-kindergarten to 2nd grade at the beginning of the semester. On the other hand, only 25 percent of the participants perceived that they could teach music to children in the upper elementary level (3rd to 5th grade). The percentage of preservice teachers who felt comfortable teaching children from pre-kindergarten to 5th grade rose, overall, by the end of the semester. A t-test for non-independent mean was used to compare the means before and after music education. The mean of preservice teachers' confidence level to teach children in kindergarten increased from 3.76 to 3.94 (t = -2.10, p < 0.05); lower elementary increased from 3.60 to 4.00 (t = -4.68, p < 0.01); and upper elementary increased from 3.07 to 3.36 (t = -3.21, p < 0.01). The results showed preservice teachers demonstrating significant improvements in self-efficacy in teaching music to kindergarten, lower elementary, and upper elementary children after they completed one semester of music education (see Table 5).
Preservice teachers had concrete ideas of how to teach children music, based on their age and developmental level, after teaching 2nd-grade children:
"The second lesson focused on beat and rhythm.... I had colored squares and arranged them in two, three, and four beats. The class read them out loud in terms of color, and then they clapped them out. This was beneficial to do because the children now developed the actual sense of what [a] beat is.... I began with a pizza pie model. This pizza pie really made my lesson work. It ... effectively let the children visualize the notes and become familiar with colors we can associate the notes with. However, I did not notice that the children needed to understand fractions to fully grasp this concept. Luckily, the children were pretty confident in fractions, so they understood the pie. I had them arrange their own pattern on the pizza pie so the entire group could sing along. This was a great visualization for them."
Attitudes Toward Music and Music Teaching
General Perceptions on Music. The preservice teachers showed positive attitudes towards music at the beginning and at the end of the semester. Before music education, participants reported that they like music very much (M = 4.74, SD = 0.44). They continued to show that they like music after music education (M = 4.54, SD = 0.64). Preservice teachers' perception on "I am musical" did not change considerably before the course (M = 3.13, SD = 1.09) and after (M = 3.27, SD = 1.14) music education. However, their self-perceptions toward their musical ability had changed, as reflected in such comments as, "I am musically knowledgeable" (M = 3.20, SD = 0.97) and "I am good at music" (M = 2.99, SD = 0.96). After receiving music education, the teachers responded that they had become more musically knowledgeable (M = 3.66, p < .01) and better at music (M = 3.60, p < .01) (see Table 6).
Preservice teachers' attitudes toward music are not necessarily proportional to their knowledge or skills, as stated by a preservice teacher in a pre-semester reflection:
"I love music! However, I do not know all of the technical terms and how to read music."
Perspectives Towards Classroom Teachers. The average expectation toward teachers teaching music in the classrooms was high at the beginning of the semester. Their average rating fell between "strongly agree" and "agree" in that classroom teachers should: like music (M = 4.23), be comfortable in teaching music to children (M = 4.17), feel or respond to music (M = 4.17), be able to teach music to children (M = 4.01), and be musically knowledgeable (M = 4.00) (see Table 7). They also expected teachers to: be familiar with music teaching methods (M = 3.97) and know musical concepts (M = 3.95). Their perspectives remained the same after they learned more about music education. T-test showed that there are no significant differences in their perspectives of teachers' efficacy in teaching music before and after they received music education (see Table 7). Therefore, preservice teachers showed high expectations of teachers' ability to use and incorporate music in childhood classrooms.
Even when preservice teachers perceive themselves as the ones with limited musical knowledge, they have high expectations of classroom teachers:
"My biggest fear is 'not understanding' the subject well enough to teach it. I think a teacher must have enough subject knowledge in order to apply this knowledge. [Teachers] must be able to communicate with their students in order for them to learn and understand."
While they believed that classroom teachers should be comfortable in teaching music, the preservice teachers did not seem to support the idea that classroom teachers need to possess such musical skills as reading musical notes or playing musical instruments. The average ratings of preservice teachers' perception on classroom teachers being able to sing songs in tune was 3.29; to read musical notes was 3.20; and being able to play a musical instrument was 2.73 before music education. The ratings of the same statements after music education were 3.30, 3.33, and 2.73, respectively. The results were consistently lower in both before- and after-music education surveys, when compared to other statements concerning teaching music to children.
Perspectives Toward Incorporating Music. Participants believed strongly that it is important for children to learn music before (M = 4.48) and after (M = 4.49) music education. In addition, they think that music should be incorporated into different types of learning, and their attitudes remained the same before and after music education (see Table 8). They believed that music should be used in helping to learn other subjects, like learning the alphabet (before: 4.48 vs. after: 4.54); in helping to relate to a theme, like animals and plants (before: 4.34 vs. after: 4.31); and in learning the musical concept itself (before: 4.32 vs. after: 4.29).
Preservice teachers' attitudes did not change significantly at the end of the semester after they learned about teaching music in classrooms. Therefore, participants perceived that it is important for children to be exposed to music in their learning process, as stated in this reflection:
"I think that an integrated curriculum is very important and it also helps the students because a student may be strong in one topic but not another and sometimes integrating the two topics together helps the students' confidence and interest."
This study examined preservice teachers' perspective and confidence in integrating music before and after they gained knowledge through a multi-disciplinary course. The preservice teachers in this study showed positive attitudes towards music. They also held high expectations of classroom teachers, in general, in their ability to teach and integrate music into the childhood classrooms. Their positive attitudes and high expectations towards integrating music did not change before or after they gained knowledge about music education in the multidisciplinary course. The results imply that the preservice teachers' level of musical knowledge and skills does not change their beliefs of what benefits children in the classroom. At the beginning of the semester, preservice teachers did not perceive themselves to be knowledgeable of, and were not confident in teaching, most of the musical concepts. Their perceived confidence increased significantly, however, after they gained the musical content and pedagogical knowledge shown in the post-semester survey. The results of this study are congruent with the suggestions from other research studies in various subjects, such as mathematics and science, showing that preservice teachers need to possess competent content knowledge in order to develop pedagogical knowledge and confidence (Capraro, Capraro, Parker, Kulm, & Raulerson, 2005). As they grasped the content and pedagogical knowledge, the preservice teachers began to perceive themselves as capable of integrating such knowledge into the classrooms.
Even though preservice teachers' confidence in music teaching increased significantly, an interesting result was that the percentages of participants who are confident to teach in all eight types of musical concepts were consistently lower than the percentages of participants who think that they know the same concept (see Table 9). It showed a 27 percent difference in the participants' perception between "knowing the concept" and "being able to teach the concept." The gap between musical knowledge and confidence in teaching music implies that just knowing the concept in a subject is not enough to teach children. Preservice teachers reflected in their journals that:
"I was very familiar with the concept and terms involved in the subject matter. Helping children achieve understanding is important, but the difficulty is in having them make discoveries and develop their own sense with just enough guidance. Telling them isn't enough. They have to do hands-on activities and develop the understanding on their own. In this class, I gained a sense of methodology and strategies to convey that information to an elementary level student. A great way that we learned about beats in a measure was with chairs lined up. Measures have a designated amount of space in them represented by the chairs. They can be filled with notes or [be] empty, but even the empty ones have to have a symbols to identify that it's empty (rest). We had different arrangements of students sit in different ways and we clapped out the rhythm accordingly. In general, I feel very positively about my learning. I feel that I get a better sense of what teaching children [is] actually like and a better understanding of how to do it successfully. I feel pretty confident in teaching what I've learned because I feel that I've been well-prepared."
"My skills have developed throughout the course of the program but are still shaky, especially while keeping a steady beat. At times I would make mistakes. I feel like I need more practice. I have the right knowledge and guidelines on how to teach. However, it is hard to apply skills into a lesson for the first time. Even though I practiced my skills at home; in school, I am still not able to master my skills accurately. I only learned on beat and rhythm once in the course so I see [that] my skills [are] effective but need to be worked on."
Previous research suggests that effective transfer of knowledge requires a sufficient degree of original learning (Bransford & Schwartz, 1999; Byo, 2000). As preservice teachers learn the content knowledge, they need to be able to transfer the knowledge to develop pedagogical content knowledge. The pedagogical knowledge then allows the preservice teachers to transfer content knowledge to learners of different abilities, interests, and needs (Shulman, 1986). Teachers have achieved a degree of self-efficacy when they become capable of making instructional decisions in planning musical activities or designing integrated curriculum.
Preservice teachers' perceptions of their abilities in playing musical instruments changed. Data analysis showed statistical significance in that more preservice teachers perceived themselves as being able to play different musical instruments at the end of the course. However, a majority of all preservice teachers in the study still thought that they could not play musical instruments. Considering the result, it seems that preservice teachers' confidence in teaching music does not necessarily derive from their skills to play musical instruments, but rather from their perception of having the skills to teach music with the appropriate pedagogical content knowledge they gained.
The preservice teachers in this study had a positive perception toward integrating music. However, when asked to give an example to integrate music in the beginning of semester, preservice teachers' ideas were not concrete. Their perceptions on integrating music were limited to singing for memorization of the concepts in other subjects, or using music as background. This finding is congruent with the result of a previous study by Bressler (1995), which showed the limits of classroom teachers' understanding of music usage, as indicated below:
"A way of integrating music into math is by creating songs to remember important lessons. For example, a song for numbers or shapes. By doing this, the students can relate to the song and remember the important concepts of math."
"In math class, [the] teacher can play classical music in the background."
As classes continued, the preservice teachers learned about musical concepts, teaching, and integrating music in classroom settings. They reflected on the importance of learning musical knowledge in order to understand how to apply the knowledge into classrooms. In addition, their ideas of integrating music became more solid.
"I think that the first couple of sessions we had in class helped me the most. It was useful seeing the different ways to teach music, how to start, what to start with, the different activities that we could use. However, it was difficult trying to come up with my own. I always doubt myself, meaning that I am not sure if my activity is going to work or not."
"Math and music are connected as well, though not as immediately obvious. When learning about different note values and how to fill a bar of music with the correct note values, it can be explained with the use of fractions. I never would have thought that integrating science and music could be done well. But when we learned about the pendulum in science, we connected it to music because a pendulum turned upside down is a (non-digital) metronome. We saw how increasing or decreasing the length could change the speed, as on a grandfather clock or on an old-fashioned metronome."
Recommendations for Future Research Future studies can investigate ways to motivate preservice teachers to gain knowledge in music education and understand how they can develop knowledge in teaching music through vicarious learning. After they had completed the music education class, the preservice teachers from this study gained knowledge about musical concepts, and their perceived self-efficacy in teaching music increased significantly. However, follow-up studies could be done to investigate the level at which these teachers integrated music activities in their classrooms.
In addition, research could be done to investigate the transfer of musical content knowledge into practice by teachers with prior music education and to compare the degree of music integration into classrooms between teachers without music education in their teacher education program. The results of this study suggested that preservice teachers' self-perceived teaching efficacy increased significantly after they learned musical content knowledge. Comparison of classroom teachers with and without music education would further support the results from this study.
As this study focused on non-music specialist preservice teachers' perceptions in teaching music in an integrated curriculum, further research can be developed to ascertain music specialists' teaching efficacy towards integrated curriculum. While previous research indicated that music specialists are more comfortable than generalists in teaching music (Byo, 2000), these studies did not focus on preservice music specialists' self-efficacy in integrating music into curriculum for children in different age groups and in other content areas. As preservice teachers of this study showed differences in their efficacy to teach children in different age groups, music specialists might feel differently about integrating music curriculum for young children that requires more developmental knowledge than curricular knowledge.
In conclusion, providing the musical content knowledge to preservice teachers during the teacher education program can help them develop their pedagogical knowledge and confidence in integrating music in their future classrooms. Classroom teachers do not need to be highly knowledgeable about music in order to teach music. They do not need to have years of experience in playing musical instruments in order to integrate music into their curriculum. In teacher education programs, we should provide sufficient content knowledge, opportunities to practice integration of music into the curriculum, guidance from instructors in the lesson planning process, and opportunities to reflect on practicum teaching experiences. The combination of knowledge and practices can assist preservice teachers in developing the pedagogical knowledge to integrate music effectively into their classrooms, as shown by the positive attitudes and high expectations toward integrating music into the childhood curriculum from this study's teachers.
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College of Staten Island
The City University of New York
National Institute of Education
Nanyang Technological University
Table 1 Age Distribution of the Participants Age n Percentage (%) 19-24 139 70.9 25-29 13 6.6 30-34 17 8.7 35-39 4 2.0 40-44 11 5.6 45-49 6 3.1 50-54 1 0.5 Did not report 5 2.5 Total 196 100 Table 2 Participants' Self-Perception on Their Knowledge in Musical Concepts Before music education Musical Yes, I No, I do M Concepts know not know (SD) Form 29 (16%) 149 (84%) 2.71 (0.90) Timbre 30 (17%) 148 (83%) 2.46 (0.99) Dynamic 36 (20%) 142 (80%) 2.77 (0.92) Tempo 98 (55%) 80 (45%) 3.35 (1.04) Pitch 109 (61%) 69 (39%) 3.47 (0.95) Harmony 112 (63%) 66 (37%) 3.47 (0.91) Melody 117 (66%) 61 (34%) 3.55 (0.91) Rhythm/ 142 (80%) 36 (20%) 3.80 Beat (0.81) After music education t p Musical Yes, I No, I do M Concepts know not know (SD) Form 101 59 (37%) 3.75 -11.21 <0.01 ** (63%) (0.88) Timbre 156 4 (3%) 4.38 -21.77 <0.01 ** (97%) (0.54) Dynamic 155 5 (3%) 4.35 -19.42 <0.01 ** (97%) (0.54) Tempo 158 2 (1%) 4.40 -11.35 <0.01 ** (99%) (0.52) Pitch 157 3 (2%) 4.39 -11.62 <0.01 ** (98%) (0.53) Harmony 154 6 (4%) 4.36 -10.92 <0.01 ** (96%) (0.55) Melody 156 4 (3%) 4.38 -10.09 <0.01 ** (97%) (0.53) Rhythm/ 157 3 (2%) 4.40 -8.64 <0.01 ** Beat (98%) (0.53) Table 3 Participants' Perception in Teaching Children Musical Concepts Before music education Musical Yes, No, I can- M Concepts I can not teach (SD) teach Form 18 (10%) 161 (90%) 2.64 (0.88) Timbre 24 (13%) 155 (87%) 2.63 (0.92) Dynamic 27 (15%) 152 (85%) 2.68 (0.93) Harmony 65 (36%) 114 (64%) 3.10 (1.06) Tempo 68 (38%) 111 (62%) 3.06 (1.10) Pitch 69 (38%) 110 (62%) 3.13 (0.92) Melody 77 (43%) 102 (57%) 3.22 (0.99) Rhythm/ 98 (55%) 81 (45%) 3.42 Beat (1.00) After music education t p Musical Yes, I can No, I M Concepts teach cannot (SD) teach Form 83 (52%) 77 3.53 -8.66 <0.01 ** (48%) (0.91) Timbre 153 (96%) 7 (4%) 4.27 -18.47 <0.01 ** (0.58) Dynamic 151 (94%) 9 (6%) 4.26 -16.75 <0.01 ** (0.58) Harmony 149 (93%) 11 (7%) 4.21 -11.67 <0.01 ** (0.58) Tempo 155 (97%) 5 (3%) 4.30 -12.6 <0.01 ** (0.55) Pitch 155 (97%) 5 (3%) 4.27 -13.04 <0.01 ** (0.54) Melody 149 (93%) 11 (7%) 4.24 -11.54 <0.01 ** (0.59) Rhythm/ 155 (97%) 5 (3%) 4.29 -10.07 <0.01 ** Beat (0.54) Table 4 Participants' Skills in Playing Musical Instruments Before music education After music education Types of Mu- Yes, I can No, I M Yes, No, I M sical Instru- play cannot (SD) I can cannot (SD) ments play play play String 5% 95% 1.73 8% 92% 1.93 Wind 15% 85% 1.96 13% 87% 2.14 Keyboard 20% 80% 2.25 30% 70% 2.46 Percussion 10% 90% 2.04 20% 80% 2.36 t p Types of Mu- sical Instru- ments String 11.56 0.002 Wind 9.18 0.021 Keyboard 9.33 0.009 Percussion 15.69 0.003 Table 5 Participants' Overall Perceptions Towards Teaching Children in Various Grades From Pre-kindergarten to 5th Grade Age of Before music education children Yes, I No, I M SD can cannot Pre-K (0-2) 64.6% 35.4% 3.78 0.81 Kindergarten 65.7% 34.3% 3.76 0.78 Lower 54.9% 45.1% 3.60 0.78 Elementary Upper 24.1% 75.9% 3.07 0.89 Elementary Age of After music education children Yes, I No, I M SD t p can cannot Pre-K (0-2) 76.4% 23.6% 3.88 0.86 -1.25 0.2 Kindergarten 79.1% 20.8% 3.94 0.81 -2.1 0.04 * Lower 82.9% 17.1% 4.00 0.71 -4.68 <0.01 ** Elementary Upper 44.9% 55.1% 3.36 0.99 -3.21 <0.01 ** Elementary (* p < 0.05 and ** p < 0.01) Table 6 Participants' General Perceptions About Music and Their Musical Knowledge Perceptions M(SD) M(SD) Before music ed. After music ed. (n = 196) (n = 160 *) M SD M SD I like music 4.73 0.44 4.54 0.64 I am musical 3.13 1.09 3.27 1.14 I am good at music 2.99 0.96 3.60 1.02 I am musically 3.20 0.97 3.66 0.87 Knowledgeable Perceptions t (p) I like music -1.25 0.21 I am musical -1.77 0.08 I am good at music -3.72 <0.01 ** I am musically -5.97 <0.01 ** Knowledgeable * total number of response is different for some questions due to missing responses. Table 7 Preservice Teachers' Expectations Towards Teachers' Efficacy in Teaching Music to Children Teachers' Efficacy (teachers should:) M M Before music After music education education Like music 4.23 4.22 Be comfortable in teaching music to 4.17 4.09 children Feel or respond to music 4.17 4.21 Be able to teach music to children 4.01 3.99 Be musically knowledgeable 4.00 3.97 Be familiar with music teaching methods 3.97 3.93 Know musical concepts 3.95 3.99 Dance or move to rhythm or beat 3.78 3.75 Be musical 3.76 3.75 Be good at music 3.31 3.41 Be able to sing songs in tune 3.29 3.30 Be able to read musical notes 3.20 3.33 Play a musical instrument 2.73 2.73 Teachers' Efficacy (teachers should:) t p Like music 0.10 0.92 Be comfortable in teaching music to 0.26 0.79 children Feel or respond to music 1.21 0.23 Be able to teach music to children 0.59 0.55 Be musically knowledgeable 0.55 0.58 Be familiar with music teaching methods 0.79 0.43 Know musical concepts -0.54 0.59 Dance or move to rhythm or beat 0.26 0.80 Be musical 0.26 0.79 Be good at music -1.92 0.06 Be able to sing songs in tune 0.08 0.93 Be able to read musical notes -1.83 0.07 Play a musical instrument -0.16 0.87 Table 8 Participants' Perspectives of Importance for Children To Be Exposed to Music Mean before Mean after music music education education Important for children to learn music 4.48 4.49 Incorporate music in subjects 4.48 4.54 Incorporate music to themes 4.34 4.31 Incorporate music to musical concepts 4.32 4.29 Table 9 Differences Between Preservice Teachers' Perception of Knowledge and Efficacy Musical Pre-music Post-music % Pre-music Post-music Concepts education education change education education knowledge knowledge teaching teaching Form 16% 63% 47% 10% 52% Timbre 17% 97% 80% 13% 96% Dynamic 20% 97% 77% 15% 94% Tempo 55% 99% 44% 38% 97% Pitch 61% 98% 37% 38% 97% Harmony 63% 96% 33% 36% 93% Melody 66% 97% 31% 43% 93% Rhythm/Beat 80% 98% 18% 55% 97% Musical % Concepts change Form 42% Timbre 83% Dynamic 79% Tempo 59% Pitch 59% Harmony 57% Melody 50% Rhythm/Beat 42% Figure 1 Course Contents That Are Directly Related to the Music Standards From MENC The Units of the Examples of Course Music Standards Textbook Contents 1 Sound & Timbre Listening to different 2,6,7,9 sounds from musical instruments; Performing on instruments to reflect timbre 2 Beat & Rhythm Learning and reading 2,4,5,6,7,9 musical symbols; Ar- ranging rhythmic musical symbols; Ar- 3 Tempo & Dynamics Listening to and 2,5,6,7 analyzing musical piece in different tempo and dynamics; Reading dynamic symbols 4 Pitch, Melody, & Reading musical notes; 2,3,4,5,6,7,9 Harmony Listening to, analyz- ing, describing, or playing different pitch, melody and harmony; Creating melodic motifs 5 Moving to Music Responding to music 6 through movement 6 Singing Music Singing songs in diffe- 1,9 rent ways (alone; with others, music accom- paniment), in a varied repertoire; Learning songs from diverse cultures 7 Playing Music Playing musical 2,3,5,7 instruments to accompany children's songs or to use for other musical activities 8 Creating Music Improvising and 2,3,4,5,6,7,9 composing a short piece of music within specific guidelines 9 Music and an Inte- Understanding music in 8 grated Curriculum an integrated curriculum through finding relationships between music and other subjects 10 Music and Understanding music and 9 Environment environment (not only physical but also social environment) 11 Musical Practice Designing music lesson 8 that integrates music into other subjects Figure 2 Course Schedule To Cover Musical Contents Session Textbook units covered Assignments 1 1. Sound & Timbre Develop activities through which 8. Creating Music children can explore different timbre in a music 2 2. Beat & Rhythm Developing visual aids to teach 7. Playing Music the concepts 3 3. Tempo & Dynamics 7. Moving to Music 4 4. Pitch, Melody, Creating activities to explore & Harmony pitch, melody, & harmony through 6. Singing Music singing and playing 5 Mid-term 6-1 9-(1). Music and an [Thursday at the college] Design 6-2 Integrated Curriculum lesson 1 on "Sound & Timbre" 10. Musical Environment [Tuesday at the P.S. class] Teach lesson 1; Observe class environment in terms of music 7-1 9-(2). Music and an [Thursday] Design lesson 2 7-2 ed Curriculum on "Beat & Rhythm" 11. Musical Practice [Tuesday] Teach lesson 2; Observe children's behavior in terms of music 8-1 9-(3). Music and an [Thursday] Design lesson 3 on 8-2 Integrated Curriculum "Pitch, Melody, & Harmony" [Tuesday] Teach lesson 3; Observe daily schedule of the class in terms of music Figure 3 Selected Questions From the 32-item Survey Section One Statements: General Rating scale perception in music and teaching music Section One: General attitudes toward music 1. I like music SA A N D SD 2. I am good at music SA A N D SD Section Two: Self-perceptions of musical knowledge 3. I know such musical concepts as: a. Timbre SA A N D SD b. Rhythm/Beat SA A N D SD c. Tempo SA A N D SD d. Dynamic SA A N D SD Section Three: Self-perceptions on skills 4. I can teach children such musical concepts as: a. Timbre SA A N D SD b. Rhythm/Beat SA A N D SD c. Tempo SA A N D SD d. Dynamic SA A N D SD 5. I can teach music to children who are: a. 0-2 years old SA A N D SD b. 3-4 years old SA A N D SD c. 5-7 years old SA A N D SD d. 8 years and older SA A N D SD 6. I can play musical instruments, such as: a. String, such as violin SA A N D SD b. Wind, such as flute SA A N D SD c. Keyboard, such as piano SA A N D SD d. Percussion, such as drum SA A N D SD Section Four: Perspectives on classroom teachers' musical knowledge and skills 7. I think classroom teachers should be musical SA A N D SD 8. I think classroom teachers should be able to teach music to children SA A N D SD 9. I think classroom teachers should play a musical instrument SA A N D SD Section Five: Perspectives on music integration 10. I think music should be taught to children so that music can: a. help learning in other subjects, such as using the ABC song to teach such as using the ABC song SA A N D SD b. be integrated into a "theme" or unit SA A N D SD c. be taught for the musical concept itself SA A N D SD 11. I think it would be better to have a music teacher in early childhood or elementary schools. SA A N D SD
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|Author:||Kim, Jinyoung; Choy, Doris|
|Publication:||Journal of Research in Childhood Education|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2008|
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