School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Mindy Damon


Curwen Hand Signs, Solfege Syllables, Sight-Singing, High School Student Perceptions, Music Literacy


Education | Music


Despite the theorized benefits of sight-singing in the choral classroom, little research has focused on the changing perceptions of high school choral students regarding sight-singing. The goal of this qualitative study with a historical approach and a grounded theory design is to assess the changing perceptions of high school choral students concerning the task of sight-singing using solfege syllables and Curwen hand signs. The study used a qualitative research approach with a pre-study and post-study questionnaire on sight-singing skills. The students received 1 twenty-minute lesson for four consecutive weeks. The goal of the questionnaire was to assess high school choral students’ feelings and perceptions of sight-singing. This study answers the question of whether the two mentioned tools positively or negatively affect sight-singing accuracy. The data revealed from this study showed that student perceptions were more positive towards the use of solfege syllables, negative about using hand signs, and extremely negative about using both at the same time. The result of this study could encourage high school choral teachers to keep teaching the skills of solfege syllables and hand signs even students are disinterested and motivating becomes challenging. Using this knowledge, music education teachers can confidently and diligently persuade students to keep working on skills to achieve positive results. The study includes a discussion of the findings and conclusions.