The development of a 15 minute direct instruction program for year 7 students for the Victorian music classroom and an evaluation of its effectiveness in advancing students' music literacy

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education


School of Education


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Geoffrey Lowe


An adequate understanding of the aural and theory aspects of music literacy eludes many students; moreover, the limited time allocated to its teaching is an ongoing problem faced by classroom practitioners, (Smith and Southcott, 2004). A solution to this dilemma in music education is imperative. Without a basic understanding, students are not equipped to progress in their musical education. Inspired by the effectiveness of a Direct Instruction intervention in mathematics by Farkota (2003), this study explores the possibilities of a similar Direct Instruction intervention for the teaching of basic aural and theory skills in the music classroom.

The purpose of this study was, therefore, to develop, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of a 15 minute Direct Instruction Program to advance the music literacy (aural and theory components) of Year 7 students in the Victorian music classroom. In doing so, the researcher hoped to offer music educators an effective tool to help maximize the diminishing amount of curriculum time music receives as just one of the Arts. (The Arts are comprised of five learning areas – dance, drama, media, music and visual arts.)

This study involved:

  • The identification of progressive essential basic knowledge and skills students require by year 7 to achieve music literacy.
  • The development and testing of a time-efficient and effective Direct Instruction program which ensured a developmentally appropriate, sequential program of music instruction and learning to improve students’ basic music literacy in the music classroom at Year 7; and
  • The implementation, measurement and evaluation of students’ level of music literacy (aural and theory) through the acquisition, retention and use of identified knowledge and skills at pre and post test stages of the Direct Instruction intervention.

The method involved the use of two classes that participated in a Direct Instruction intervention and two control classes that did not. All four classes were tested using “The Iowa Tests of Music Literacy” (Gordon, 1991) at the start and end of their Year 7 classroom music program. The results of each class were then analysed and compared to ascertain whether the Direct Instruction program impacted upon students’ levels of music literacy.

According to the results of this study, a Direct Instruction approach to the teaching of the aural and theory aspects of music literacy had a positive effect on student learning in terms of building their literacy skills.

LCSH Subject Headings

School music - Instruction and study - Victoria

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