School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Nathan Street


Orff, language acquisition, music appreciation, quasi-experiment, student growth objective (SGO), multiple intelligences




Despite the abundance of literature that supports music education connecting to language learning, limited research evaluates the effectiveness of elementary music methodologies, such as the Orff approach, in helping foreign language students in their language learning. The Orff approach develops musicianship in every student through music, movement, speech, and drama. Guided by Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, the researcher implemented a quasi-experimental research study to measure the language fluency of 100 elementary students participating in general music and learning Spanish as a foreign language. The researcher placed half of the students in the treatment group exploring the Orff approach in general music and half in the control group in music appreciation. After completing a Spanish pretest and participating in the two-month intervention, both groups are assessed via the Spanish Student Growth Objective (SGO) halfway benchmark. Scores reflect students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing abilities. This work provides evidence of the effects of the Orff approach on language acquisition. It allows readers to ascertain the potential connections between the brain regions responsible for language learning and those responsible for developing musicianship. Such a study is groundbreaking because it can inspire the development of professional learning communities among the arts and language departments and promote further cross-curricular connections to music. Furthermore, this study can encourage further research as scholars can test various general music methodologies and successful acquisition of other target or foreign languages.

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