The Effect of Music Teaching Method on Music Reading Skills and Music Participation: An Online Study

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


School of Music Studies, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Place of Publication

Thessaloniki, Greece


School of Psychology and Social Science




Orlando, R., & Speelman, C. (23-28 July 2012). The Effect of Music Teaching Method on Music Reading Skills and Music Participation: An Online Study. Proceedings of the ICMPC-­‐ESCOM 2012 Joint Conference (p. 759-765). Available here


Music reading skills are acknowledged as essential for musicians when learning new pieces, accompanying, or playing with others in ensembles. Approaches to teaching beginners may be divided into rote, with new pieces learnt by ear and /or finger positions, and note, where students learn to read from conventional music notation from the earliest lessons. This study set out to examine relationships between first methods of learning musical instruments and outcome measures of subsequent music reading skills, participation in music ensembles, and ability to play music by ear. A self-administered online questionnaire collected data regarding the musical background of volunteer adult participants, and included a two-part music-reading task. This was comprised of 24 audio-visual matching tasks using sets of four2-bar melodies requiring either matching the scored melody to one of four recorded melodies, or matching a recorded melody to one of four scored melodies. Over a period of 52 days, 155 responses to the questionnaire were recorded, of which 118 (76%) were analyzed using a series of one-way analyses of variance. Results supported the hypothesis that the first method of instruction affected subsequent music reading ability, with note methods resulting in higher reading abilities than rote. Furthermore, a significant relationship emerged between music reading ability and ensemble participation, and a significant effect was found for playing by ear on music reading ability.

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