School of Music


Master of Arts in Music Education (MA)


Jerry L. Newman


aural skills, worship music, sight-singing, solfege, harmonic dictation, ear-training




The purpose of this applied research curriculum project is to assess the effectiveness of the curriculum “Ear Training for Worship Musicians” for non-traditionally trained college students using contemporary musical examples, introducing basic piano skills, and applying the Nashville number system. Current curriculum trends in aural skills training have not addressed the issue of teaching harmonic dictation for worship music to college students who are not traditionally trained. This study applies a quasi-experimental research design with identical pre- and post- implementation quantitative tests and a qualitative online survey once the curriculum is complete. Twenty participants were recruited for the online curriculum study based on convenience and snowball sampling and fit the criteria of being over eighteen years of age and interested in worship music. Before beginning the curriculum, a musical knowledge and listening test was administered. Participants were then enrolled in the eight-week course where they studied sight-singing with solfege, rhythmic dictation, basic piano skills, and harmonic dictation using contemporary worship songs. The same musical knowledge and listening test was administered at the end of the final week. The results of the quantitative tests were analyzed using an independent sample t-test, and results from the qualitative survey were analyzed for common themes. The quantitative data revealed no significant difference in pre- and post- implementation tests for “Ear Training for Worship Musicians.” The qualitative survey revealed the participants felt their understanding and knowledge grew through the course. Further research is recommended in testing with a paired samples t-test and specific participant qualifications when recruiting.

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