Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-21-1954


This study was an outgrowth of a recognized need for research in classroom teaching of music. It was the purpose of the writer to teach two comparable classes in instrumental music, each class to he taught according to a different teaching method, and to compare the relative effectiveness of the two methods. The classes were composed of twenty children each, in the age group nine through eleven. The two groups were equated according to socio-economic backgrounds, musical backgrounds, intelligence, and school achievement. One teaching method was based on association learning theory, the other on field psychology or Gestalt theory. The principle in the former was to stamp in correct habits through repetition in the presence of reward or need reduction; the principle in the latter was to present problems in class for solution by the class members. Measurement was accomplished through objective tests and subjective evaluation. From the results of the measurements, conclusions were drawn that the cognitive processes of understanding seem to have much to do with efficiency of learning and retention in the learning of performance on musical instruments. The further conclusion was drawn that better results in performance of instrumental classes may be expected if greater responsibility for musical performance is placed on the players, rather than on a teacher who imposes his ideas on the group.