Perceptual Modalities in Music Listening Among Third-Grade Students (Kinesthetic, Visual, Auditory)
The main purpose of this dissertation was to qualitatively examine how different perceptual modality reinforcements of a musical stimulus affected children’s sensibilities to musical content by probing what they retained in short term memory after listening to longer musical excerpts. Five research questions were examined, three at the individual level and two at the group level of analysis. The main research question for the individual level was: What qualitative characteristics are found in the retrospective verbal reports of each individual third-grade student when repeated music listening experiences are presented in each of three perceptual modality combinations: auditory only (A), auditory reinforced with visual stimuli (AV), and auditory reinforced with kinesthetic stimuli (AK)?
To answer the research questions, sixteen third-grade students (8 females and 8 males) were presented with six repeated-listening experiences, two each in the A, AV, and AK presentation modes. Their audiotaped and videotaped responses were transcribed for later analyzation. Examination of the verbal reports led the author to categorize student responses into fourteen different categories of statements. The Swassing-Barbe Modality Index (SBMI) was administered to each of the students. The students evaluated their own perceptual modality preferences. Additionally, parents, classroom teachers, and the music teacher were asked to classify the students’ perceptual modality preferences.
The results of the study indicated that individual perceptual modality strengths did appear to affect how students listen to music. Students were classified as follows: two visual learners, four auditory learners, and ten mixed modality learners. Parents, the regular classroom teachers, and the music teacher were more likely to agree with these categorizations than either the students themselves or the SBMI. Among the patterns noted were: (1) students were able to perceive and process auditory, visual, and kinesthetic stimuli to varying degrees as they listened to music; (2) students’ perceptions often varied dependent upon the perceptual modality stimuli they were given; (3) some students appeared confused by the addition of certain perceptual stimuli. Implications for future research and teaching were included.