Proceedings paper

 

 

INFLUENCE OF FORMAL INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC TUITION (FIMT) ON ADOLESCENT SELF-CONFIDENCE AND ENGAGEMENT IN COMPUTER-BASED COMPOSITION

Frederick A. Seddon and Susan A. O'Neill, Department of Psychology, Keele University

Background. A previous study with 11 year olds revealed that although teacher evaluations of the childrens' compositions did not differentiate between the compositions of children with and without FIMT, children without FIMT were more likely to rate their own compositions lower than children with FIMT (Seddon & O'Neill, 1999). This finding is supported by previous studies which have found that children without FIMT lack confidence in performing musical tasks if they attribute their lack of ability to a lack of formal music training (Covington and Omelich, 1979; Vispoel and Austin, 1993, 1998). The lack of agreement between the teacher evaluations and the children's self-evaluations suggests that children's confidence levels may influence the accuracy of their self-assessments. Past studies have also revealed that during computer-based composition, musically trained adolescents experimented less with possibilities offered by the computer and produced compositions with more 'fixed ideas' about creating music than untrained adolescents (Scrip, Meyaard and Davidson, 1988; Folkestad, 1998). Further research is needed to explore these issues if we are to have a better understanding of the role of self-assessment in teaching composition using computer-based methods.

Method.

Participants

Forty eight adolescents (aged 13-14 years) from a secondary school in Cheshire were selected by the Head of Music and invited to participate in the study. Twenty five (Female=12, Male=13) had between 2-4 years prior experience of FIMT and twenty three (Female=12, Male=11) had no prior experience of FIMT.

Materials

In order to collect composition data a Yamaha PSR 530 music keyboard was used. This music keyboard was connected via MIDI to a computer with a researcher modified version of Cubase Score composition software program installed. The program was modified by the first author to enable adolescents (after two thirty minute training sessions) to compose with relative ease whether or not they had prior experience of FIMT. In addition, the computer had a video card installed to enable all 'on screen manipulations' to be unobtrusively recorded to a video recorder.

Procedure

The composition task involved asking participants to engage with computer-based composition after two thirty minute training sessions. The training sessions were scripted to control for variations in training and focused on how to use the composition program but did not provide any instruction in the compositional process itself. No musical examples were given that could have implied 'correct models' to copy. Following on from the two training sessions, participants were instructed to 'compose a piece that sounds good to you'. Participants had three individual 30-minute composition sessions on three consecutive days in order to complete their composition. The composition sessions took place in a room designated solely for the use of the participant to ensure privacy. Participants were asked to choose three sounds from ten sounds available. CD recordings of the completed compositions were made for evaluation by specialist music teachers.

During the composition sessions all 'on screen manipulations' of the program were unobtrusively recorded to videotape through a 'video-card' installed in the computer. In addition to this videotape data, 'midi files' were saved using different name references via the 'save as' method (e.g., David 1, David 2 etc.) for each participant at the end of each composition session. Videotape recordings of 'on screen manipulations' and 'midi files' provided process of composition data for investigation.

Measure of participants' self-evaluations

Questionnaires were administered at two points in time. Time one: prior to both training in the use of the Cubase program and engaging in computer-based composition and, time two: after completing their computer-based compositions. At time one, participants were asked questions designed to reveal their levels of confidence in their ability to compose pieces of music in relation to 'other students' with, and separately without, FIMT. At time two, participants were asked to evaluate their own compositions in relation to 'other students' with, and separately without, FIMT. According to Diener and Dweck (1980) knowing the adolescent's ratings of 'others' performance allows a clearer interpretation of the evaluation of their own performance. For example, an adolescent may rate his or her own performance as 8 on a 10-point scale; but if that adolescent thinks that most other adolescents would rate a 9 or 10 on the scale, then he or she may not consider 8 to be a successful score. On the other hand, if the adolescent believed most other adolescents would rate a 4 or 5, then his or her performance might be outstanding by comparison (p.994). Thus the difference between the questions 'How good do you think most students who have had [have not had] instrumental tuition are at composing pieces of music?' and 'How good do you think you are at composing pieces of music?' (time one) was calculated. Also 'How good do you think the compositions of most students who have had [have not had] instrumental tuition will be?' and 'How good do you think your composition sounds?' (time two) was calculated.

Teacher evaluations of compositions

The completed compositions were recorded to CD for evaluation by specialist music teachers using 'consensual assessment' procedures (Amabile, 1982; Daignault, 1996; Hickey, 1998). Evaluations of the compositions were made by four, practising, experienced, specialist music teachers. Separately, they rated the compositions each using different CDs with the compositions recorded in a different random order on each CD. The compositions were identified by number only. They made their evaluations using pre-prepared forms that required them to listen to the CD twice. On the first listening they were asked to rate for 'overall impression'. On the second listening, they were asked to rate for 'creativity' and 'craftsmanship'. 'Overall impression' was rated using a 7 point rating scale (anchored from 1= very poor, 4= average, to 7= excellent). 'Creativity' and 'craftsmanship' were rated using a 7 point rating scale (anchored from 1= low, 4= medium, to 7= high). Instructions to the teachers included: 'Please try to use the full range of the scale from 1-7', 'When rating for 'creativity' please consider the following dimensions: originality, novel use of timbres, novel musical ideas and variety.', 'When rating for 'craftsmanship' please consider the following dimensions: form, technical goodness, detail, complexity and overall organisation'. Teachers were also advised:

'Though it is certainly possible to give similar ratings on all three categories ('overall impression', 'creativity' and 'craftsmanship') do not allow how you rate on one scale to necessarily effect how you rate the composition on the others. Keep the ratings for each category separate as you listen to the compositions'.

Results.

Participants' self-evaluations

T-tests were carried out to compare difference means at 'Time 1'and 'Time 2' means are displayed in Table 1.

Table 1.Mean scores (and standard deviations) of difference means for participants with and without FIMT when compared to 'others' with, and separately, without FIMT at 'Time 1' and 'Time 2'

Participants

(N)

'Time 1'

compared to 'others'....

'Time 2'

compared to 'others'....

 

 

 

 

With FIMT

With FIMT

Without FIMT

With FIMT

Without FIMT

 

(25)

Mean (SD)

2.00 (1.12)

Mean (SD)

-0.64 (1.47)

Mean (SD)

0.72 (1.10)

Mean (SD)

-0.76 (1.54)

Without FIMT

(23)

4.09 (1.76)

0.61 (1.80)

1.48 (1.34)

-0.044 (1.02)

'Time 1'

Participants with and without FIMT rated themselves worse at composing than 'others' with FIMT but participants with FIMT had significantly lower difference means than participants without FIMT (t = 4.95 (46), p<.001).

Participants with FIMT rated themselves better at composing than 'others' without FIMT and participants without FIMT rated themselves worse at composing than 'others' without FIMT and that the difference between these ratings were significant (t = 2.64 (46), p <.05).

'Time 2'

Participants with and without FIMT rated their compositions worse than the compositions of 'others' with FIMT but participants with FIMT had significantly lower difference means than participants without FIMT (t = 2.15 (46), p<.05).

Participants with and without FIMT rated their compositions better than the compositions of 'others' without FIMT but participants with FIMT had higher difference means than participants without FIMT, although this results failed to reach significance (t = 1.87 (46), p =.066).

Chi-square analyses were carried out to investigate these findings further. Participants were cross-classified according to whether or not they had prior experience of FIMT and for 'Time 1', whether they rated their ability to compose pieces of music same/better than or worse than 'others' with and separately without FIMT and for 'Time 2' whether they rated how good their composition sounded the same/better than or worse than 'others' with and separately without FIMT. The results are summarised in Table 2.

Table 2. Number (and percentage) of participants with and without FIMT according to whether they rated their ability to compose pieces of music same/better than or worse than 'others' with and separately without FIMT at 'Time 1' and whether they rated how good their composition sounded the same/better than or worse than 'others' with and separately without FIMT at 'Time 2'.

 

Participants

(N)

'Time 1'

compared to 'others'....

with FIMT without FIMT

'Time 2'

compared to 'others'....

with FIMT without FIMT

 

 

 

With FIMT

Same/

better

(%)

Worse

(%)

Same/

better

(%)

Worse

(%)

Same/

better

(%)

Worse

(%)

Same/

better

(%)

Worse

(%)

(25)

3

(12.0)

22

(88.0)

20

(80.0)

5

(20.0)

13

(52.0)

12

(48.0)

21

(84.0)

4

(16.0)

Without FIMT

(23)

1

(4.3)

22

(95.7)

13

(56.5)

10

(43.5)

5

(12.7)

18

(78.3)

16

(69.6)

7

(30.4)

 

 

At Time 1 most participants with FIMT rated themselves 'worse' at composing than 'others' with FIMT but the same or better at composing than 'others' without FIMT. At Time 2 participants with FIMT were more evenly divided when comparing their completed compositions with 'others' with FIMT but there was little change when comparing their compositions with 'others' without FIMT.

At Time 1 most participants without FIMT rated themselves 'worse' at composing than 'others' with FIMT but were more evenly divided when comparing their completed compositions with 'others' without FIMT. At Time 2 more participants without FIMT considered themselves the same or better when comparing their completed compositions with 'others' with FIMT than at Time 1. This trend was repeated when comparing their completed compositions to 'others' without FIMT.

In order to investigate these changes for participants from Time 1 to Time 2 difference means were the dependent measures in a repeated measures ANOVA with two between-subjects factors (FIMT/ NON-FIMT and gender) and two within-subject factors (Time 1/ Time 2 and 'others' with/without FIMT). The results are summarised in Table 3.

Table 3.

 

 

 

There were significant main effects for Time 1/ Time 2 (F=28.95, p< .001) and 'others' with/without FIMT (F= 189.84, p< .001). There were significant interactions between Time x 'others' with/without FIMT (F= 27.77, p< .001) and Time x FIMT (F= 4.55, p<.05). There were no significant main effects of interactions for gender.

Teacher evaluations of compositions

Mean scores were calculated for each teacher on each category (see Table 4).

Table 4. Mean scores (and standard deviations) by teachers for 'overall impression', 'creativity' and 'craftsmanship'

Teacher

'overall impression'

Mean (SD)

'creativity'

Mean (SD)

'craftsmanship'

Mean (SD)

T1

T2

T3

T4

4.15 (1.41)

3.67 (1.00)

4.33 (1.45)

3.88 (1.12)

3.94 (1.36)

3.81 (1.12)

4.04 (1.50)

3.92 (1.77)

4.10 (1.39)

4.04 (0.99)

4.17 (1.37)

3.67 (1.65)

 

 

An examine of the correlation matrix for each teacher on each of the three categories ('overall impression', 'creativity' and 'craftsmanship') revealed that for all four teachers the three categories were highly correlated indicating they were not differentiating between the categories. As the teachers were not differentiating between categories it was decided to create an 'overall rating' for each teacher by calculating composite mean ratings for ('overall impression', 'creativity' and 'craftsmanship') for each teacher. An examination of the full correlation matrix for this 'overall rating' revealed the scores for three of the teachers were significantly correlated. Since no significant correlation was found between the ratings of one of the four teachers this teacher's rating was omitted from the analysis. Further examination of this teacher's ratings may reveal some interesting differences in approach, however for the purposes of the present study, a consensus of agreement between the other three teachers suggested more reliable evaluations (see Table 5).

Table 5. Correlation between teachers for 'overall rating'

 

T.1

T.2

T3

T.1

 

.40**

.53**

T.2

.40**

 

.32*

T.3

.53**

.32*

 

** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2 tailed)

* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2 tailed)

Taking into account the significant correlation for the teachers' 'overall ratings', an 'overall evaluation' score was then calculated for each participant based on the mean 'overall ratings' by the three teachers.

In order to examine the effects of prior FIMT and gender the 'overall evaluation' scores were dependent variables in a two-way mixed ANOVA for participants according to prior experience of FIMT and gender. No significant differences were found according to prior experience of FIMT or for gender and no interaction was found between the variables suggesting that the evaluations by the teachers did not differentiate between participants based on prior experience of FIMT or gender.

Discussion.

Results based upon the analysis of difference means at Time 1 reveal participants with and without FIMT display low levels of self-confidence in their ability to compose when compared to 'others' with FIMT but participants without FIMT display significantly less confidence than participants with FIMT. However, when comparing themselves to 'others' without FIMT participants with and without FIMT display comparatively high levels of self-confidence in their ability to compose. One interpretation of this could be that all participants perceive a link between prior experience of FIMT and ability to compose. The participants without FIMT lack confidence in their ability to compose when compared to 'others' with FIMT because they attribute their perceived lack of ability to their lack of prior experience of FIMT. This lends support to previous studies which found children without FIMT lack confidence in performing musical tasks if they attribute their lack of ability to a lack of formal music training (Covington and Omelich, 1979; Vispoel and Austin, 1993, 1998).The participants with FIMT may be displaying modesty or lack of self-confidence in relation to similarly trained peers. Participants without FIMT display higher levels of self-confidence in their ability to compose when comparing themselves with similarly untrained peers. Participants with FIMT also display even higher levels of self-confidence in their ability to compose when comparing themselves to untrained 'others' possibly because they believe prior experience of FIMT increases their ability to compose in relation to untrained 'others'.

Results from the repeated measures ANOVA based upon the difference means at Time 1 and Time 2 reveal that overall difference means were significantly lower at Time 2 than Time 1. This could be interpreted as an increase in participants' overall levels of self-confidence as a result of engaging with the composition task. Ratings at Time 2 being made in relation to the composition itself rather than speculating about composition ability. Results also revealed participants with and without FIMT awarded lower ratings to their completed compositions when compared to 'others' with FIMT but participants without FIMT awarded significantly lower ratings than participants with FIMT. This lends support to a previous study which found children without FIMT were more likely to rate their own compositions lower than children with FIMT (Seddon and O'Neill, 1999). However, when comparing their compositions to 'others' without FIMT participants with and without FIMT awarded higher ratings to their own compositions. When interpreting these results it is important to note that the results of the teachers evaluations found no significant differences between the compositions based upon prior experience of FIMT. This means that either the adolescents are employing different evaluation criteria than the teachers or their levels of self-confidence are influencing the accuracy of their self-evaluations.

Implications.

If self-assessment of adolescent computer-based composition is to be employed, issues of self-confidence in relation to prior experience of FIMT need to be addressed to improve the accuracy of these measures. Based upon the evidence of this study, it seems likely that self-confidence in computer-based composition (regardless of prior experience of FIMT) will increase as a result of engaging with the process. Adolescents should be encouraged to make self-evaluations of their compositions based upon the composition itself rather than being influenced by their self-confidence in relation to their prior experience of FIMT.

References

 

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Covington, M.V., and Omelich, C.L. (1979). Effort: The double-edged sword in school achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 71, 2, 169-182.

Daignault, L. (1996). A study of children's creative musical thinking within the context of a computer-supported improvisational approach to composition. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Chicago, U.S.A.: Northwestern University.

Diener, C. L. and Dweck, C. S. (1980). An analysis of learned helplessness: ll. The processing of success. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 940-952.

Folkestad, G. (1998). Musical learning as cultural practice: as exemplified in computer-based creative music-making. In B. Sundin, G.E. McPherson, and G.

Folkestad (Eds.), Children composing: research in music education (pp. 97-134). Malmo Academy of Music: Lund University.

Hickey, M. (1998). Consensual assessment of children's musical compositions. Submitted to Creativity Research Journal January 20, 1998.

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Seddon, F.A., & O'Neill, S.A. (1999). An evaluation study of computer-based compositions by children with and without prior experience of formal instrumental music tuition. Accepted for publication Psychology of Music January 1999.

Visopel, W. P. and Austin, J. R. (1993). Constructive response to failure in music: The role of attribution feedback and classroom goal structure. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 63, 110-129.

Vispoel, W. P. and Austin, J. R. (1998). How American adolescents interpret success and failure in classroom music: relationships among attributional beliefs, self concept and achievement. Psychology of Music, 26, 1, 26-45.

 

 

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