The effect of instructor-major-instrument, instructor-playing frequency, and instructor-performing frequency on student melodic imitation scores and tone quality

Daniel Stuart Hellman


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of the frequencies of instructor-playing, instructor-performing, and instructor-instrument-type on student melodic imitation and tone quality. Additionally, the variables of the number of times a month teachers (a) play any instrument anywhere, (b) play instruments at school, (c) play instruments for students in teaching, (d) play instruments with students, and (e) perform in public were examined for relationships between teacher self-perception and student perception. Participants were 359 eighth-grade students who remained with the same instrumental music teacher since sixth grade and their teachers. Data were collected at twenty-one schools that participated. Student-participants completed the Student Survey while teacher-participants completed the Teacher Survey. Three student-participants who played their teacher-participant's major instrument and three who played another instrument that was not their teacher's major instrument were randomly selected to take the IETHT (Dickey & Froseth, 1991). Three judges assessed the performances from this test item by item for correctness and globally for tone quality. The tests of hypotheses were accomplished statistically by using MANCOVA, ANCOVA, simple, and multiple regression. The unit of analysis was the teacher-school unit and included variables collected as group means, class means, and individual teacher data. The results indicated a small effect size and significantly higher scores for the variable of students who played the major instrument of their teacher on the combined effect of pitch imitation and tone quality, but not for either variable alone. The results also indicated moderate relationships between student perception of the monthly frequencies and teacher-reported frequencies of (a) playing any instrument anywhere, (b) playing instruments at school, (c) playing instruments for students, (d) playing instruments with students, and (e) performing in public. The results of a regression analysis indicated that 29.9% of IETHT item scores could be explained by the set of variables of the number of days (a) teachers reported that they played any instrument anywhere, (b) teachers reported that they demonstrated instruments for students, and (c) the number of days that teachers performed. The results of a regression analysis with the same independent variables using tone quality as a dependent variable were not significant.