Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


School of Education


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Basil Jayatilaka


This research project investigated the extent to which two methods of instruction enhance memory (short and long term) and transfer of the knowledge into various contexts of songs and their musical elements. The two methods of instruction investigated were the rote memorisation and the whole method. Students of one year three class from a metropolitan, co-educational government school were the participants in the research. The students served as both the control and experimental groups. They were taught four songs over a course of eight weeks by the school's music specialist. The eight weeks were divided into two four week sessions. Two simple and repetitive songs were taught in the first four week session- one using the rote memorisation method of instruction and the other using the whole approach. Two more difficult songs were taught in the second four week session using the same two methods. Immediately after each session the students were tested (Test 1) to assess their short term memory and twelve days later the same test was administered (Retest) to assess their long term memory. The results indicated that when teaching simple repetitive songs, the rote memorisation method improved the students' short and long term memory. However, when teaching more difficult songs, the whole method significantly improved long term memory and overall understanding of the various elements of music. The results also indicated that the subjects were able to remember the elements of the songs in isolation using the rote method. They were also able to identify more easily the elements in isolation. For songs taught using the whole method the elements were remembered more wholistically. The subjects scored a lot better on the segments of the tests that required a more wholistic understanding and memory of the songs. These results have implications for both music educators and educators from other curriculum areas who are interested in how students learn and how they remember what they have learned. The results of this report question the acceptability, consistency and reliability of the information processing model and some theories of learning when applied to music teaching. For music teachers, the results may have far reaching implications in the way various songs may be taught in order to obtain maximum memory understanding and transfer.

Included in

Art Education Commons