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Process and Product: The sight singing backgrounds and behaviors of first year undergraduate students
Furby, Victoria J.

2008, Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, Music.

This study was designed to address the need for research examining the sight-singing backgrounds and behaviors of students who had finished a secondary school education, but had not yet begun a college curriculum. Sample subjects (N=40) were self-selected from the population of first-year undergraduate students who auditioned for a choral ensemble at a large Midwestern university. Data were gathered from questionnaire responses, video observations and audio recorded evaluations of a sight-singing task.

A large majority (97.4%) of students entering college choral ensembles had participated in a variety of choral ensembles throughout their high school (M=3.36 years) and middle school (M=1.92 years) educations. Many students (43.5%) had also participated in a variety of instrumental ensembles (M=2.9 years). Most students (84.6%) reported receiving some type of sight singing instruction and 77% reported receiving instruction in a specific sight-singing system with a large majority (75%) receiving instruction in movable tonic systems. A majority (59%) of students reported that they had been instructed regarding specific strategies to prepare for sight-singing performance.
Students were asked to sight sing a newly constructed melody written in common time and in the key of F major. Students spent an average of six minutes and thirty-two seconds preparing for sight-singing performance. Students spent the most time singing (M=320.23 seconds) and also spent time tonicizing (M=25.13), in silent study (M=30.51), writing (M=26.38) and keeping an external beat (M=25.62). Students also played the starting pitch (M=10.91 occurrences), made error detections (M=9.54) and started again (M=10.79).

Ordinary Least Squares regression analysis showed years of high school choral participation to be the strongest predictor of sight-singing success, with years of instrumental ensemble participation also found to be a significant predictor. Analysis of high and low scorers showed that high scorers spent less total time than low scorers in preparing for sight-singing, and a larger proportion of preparation time in non-singing behaviors, including writing, silent study and external beat keeping. Low scorers restarted the example significantly more often than high scorers. Analysis of sight-singing instruction showed that students who had received sight-singing instruction, especially in regard to specific preparatory strategies, were more successful sight-singers. Varied musical experiences and the inclusion of sight-singing instruction were shown to be the best predictors of sight-singing success.


Patricia J. Flowers, PhD (Advisor)
Hilary Apfelstadt, PhD (Committee Member)
Leila Heil, PhD (Committee Member)
166 p.

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Furby, V. (2008). Process and Product: The sight singing backgrounds and behaviors of first year undergraduate students. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Furby, Victoria. "Process and Product: The sight singing backgrounds and behaviors of first year undergraduate students." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2008. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 28 Mar 2015.

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Furby, Victoria "Process and Product: The sight singing backgrounds and behaviors of first year undergraduate students." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2008. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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