Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

School of Music

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Current university-level group piano classes may not provide adequate training on functional keyboard skills needed by non-keyboard professional musicians. Innovative teaching strategies involving collaborative learning have been successfully demonstrated in other areas of education (e.g., math, science, and English) and might efficiently improve students’ functional keyboard skills. This dissertation examined the effects of collaborative learning on harmonization in college group piano classes. This study explored the differences between performance outcomes among students who collaborated to learn harmonization, as opposed to those who worked alone. It also investigated how collaborative work influenced students’ attitudes and confidence toward learning and performing harmonization.

Non-keyboard music majors (N = 111), including 71 students enrolled in Group Piano I and 40 students enrolled in Group Piano III at Louisiana State University, participated in the study. The participants were divided into control and experiment groups. Students in the experimental group engaged in collaborative learning activities, whereas students in the control group worked alone on the harmonization exercises.

Pretest, interim assessment, and posttest were given to all participants to evaluate their performance outcomes. The performance of most participants improved from pretest to posttest. Analyses of the data revealed that statistically significant differences between the groups after the treatment, indicating that collaborative learning positively affected students’ achievement in harmonization.

After the pretest and posttest, participants filled out a self-evaluation Likert scale survey. There were significant differences for questions related to confidence, preparation, persistence. The experimental group appeared to develop better attitudes and confidence toward learning and performing harmonization. Experimental participants reported positive engagement with collaborative learning activities and many chose harmonization as their favorite in-class activity.

Committee Chair

Pike,Pamela

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