Music Education Research

December 31, 2009

Musical Study and Style Preferences

Filed under: Band, Popular Music — Rick Dammers @ 9:35 pm

Ginocchio J. (2009). The effects of different amounts and types of music training on music style preference. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, (182) 7-17.

Adding to an extensive body of research on musical preference, Ginocchio examines the effect of length and kind of music study on student preferences.  One hundred-seventy six collegiate music appreciation students were surveyed on their history of studying music, and were asked to rate their level of preference for 20 short musical excerpts representing 12 different styles of music, covering popular and non-popular styles Generally speaking, more years of music study correlated with higher levels of appreciation of non-popular (jazz and classical) styles.

Interestingly, there were differences in preference levels between types of musical study (band, choir or piano).  Generally speaking, band students displayed increased levels of preference for non-popular music (including vocal classical music) while choir and piano students did not. Since the students who studied music are, to some extent, a self-selecting population, this study can not prove these courses as the cause of increasing student appreciation of jazz and classical music – it can only  demonstrate a correlation. (In other words, it is possible that the students who choose and stay in band are pre-disposed to like non-popular styles of music, resulting in the higher correlation).  Still, it is interesting to consider the broader outcomes of our performance classes, including the effect of band and choir upon later music listening habits.

Hopefully, all music instruction deepens students’ musical experiences and broadens their access to multiple musical styles.  It is my hope that technology-based music classes may be particularly effective in meeting this objective. As these classes become increasingly common, their effect upon students’ musical style preferences should be examined, as well as further studies on the effect of performance-based classes.

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