A Comparative Evaluation of Group and Private Piano Instruction on the Musical Achievements of Young Beginners
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This study compares the relative influence of group and individual piano instruction on the musical achievements of young beginning piano students between the ages of 5 to 7. It also investigates the potential influence on these achievements of an individual teacher’s preference for either mode of instruction, children’s age and gender, and identifies relationships between these three factors and the two different modes of instruction. Forty-five children between the ages of 5 to 7 without previous musical training completed this empirical study, which consisted of 24 weekly piano instruction and a posttest evaluating their musical achievements. The 45 participants included 25 boys and 20 girls. The participants were comprised of twenty-seven 5-year-olds, nine 6-year-olds, and nine 7-year-old participants. Twenty-two children participated in group piano instruction and 23 received private instruction. After finishing 24 weekly lessons, participants underwent a posttest evaluating: (1) music knowledge, (2) music reading, (3) aural discrimination, (4) kinesthetic response, and (5) performance skill. Results of MANOVA support the main hypothesis that relationship of the two different instructional modes and musical achievements is null. However, significant interaction exists between the mode of instruction and the participants’ age, especially within the achievement of kinesthetic response. In this category, children aged 5 who participated in group instruction outperformed peers receiving individual instruction. By contrast, children at ages 6 and 7 receiving individual instruction outperformed their peers undergoing group instruction. Similar trends were revealed in the other musical achievements. This result may be influenced by: (1) different attitudes towards group work between children both younger and older than age 6, (2) growth of self-consciousness, (3) changes in children’s sociability, and (4) different achievement motivation. Differences in teacher and gender did not alter the non-significant relationship between modes of instruction and musical achievements.
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