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ADLIA SYAZANNA BT ABAS

2014315451
MUE 733

CONSEPTIONS OF MUSICAL ABILITY


Introduction
1. The aim of this research is to explore the nature of musical ability as currently conceptualized
by different group of individuals with different levels of musical expertise in a Western culture
(United Kingdom)
2. Historically, musical ability has been conceptualized in relation to aural abilities.
3. Now, musical ability been viewed as a social construction, acquiring different meanings in
different cultures, sub groups within cultures and at the individual level.
4. After the statements were analyzed, music ability was conceptualized in relation to aural skills,
receptive activities, generative activities, the integration of a range of skills, personal qualities
and the extent to which it is learned.
Conceptions of Musical Ability by Different Group of Individuals
1. Gordon (1979) proposed that the level of musical aptitude that a child is born with could not
be raised but up to the age of 9 much can be done.
2.Seashore (1960) said it was possible to determine basic capacities for music which would
enable the selection of those to play musical instruments who were most likely to succeed given
that resources for providing tuition scarce.
3. Shuter-Dyson (1999) musical ability is innate or learned.
4. Ceci (1990) hereditary factors also shape the environment.
5.Farnsworth (1969) neither nature nor nurture can alone make a musician. Both must be present
before musical and other abilities can emerge.
6. Hallam (1998) while the amount of practice predicts the level of expertise attained, it does not
predict the quality performance at any particular point in time.

ADLIA SYAZANNA BT ABAS


2014315451
MUE 733

Method
1. Using qualitative methodology
- asking individual to complete the statement Musical ability is
- allow free expression of their thoughts, feelings and experiences
2. Three differents questionnaires were designed to be drawn upon :
- Adult (not musicians) * state their occupation, gender and age.
- Adult (musician) * range of occupational categories were descriptive of their work.
- Young adult (more or less musical experience) *ask to indicate the age within 5 years
bands and whether they were learing to play a musical instrument, member of a choir,
listened to a lot of music but not actively involved in making music outside rhe
curriculum or had no interest of any kind in music outside school curriculum lessons.
3. The final statement were analysed using an iterative process of categorization based on seven
stage process developed by Cooper and McIntyre (1993). The process involved :
1. Reading a random sample of scripts.
2. Identifying points of similarity and difference among these transcripts.
3. Generating theories.
4. Testing theories against a new set of transcripts.
5. Testing new theories against transcripts already dealt with
6. Carrying all existing theories forward to new transcripts.
7. Repeating the above process until data have been examined and all theories tested.

ADLIA SYAZANNA BT ABAS


2014315451
MUE 733

Results
There are 6 ,ain themes emerged with a number of sub-categories. The categories to emerge
conceptualized musical ability in relation to :
Aural Skills

Having a musical ear

Receptive responses

Having rhythmic ability


Listening to and/or understanding music
Being actively responsive to music
Appreciation of music
Declarative of music

Generative skills

Being able to evaluate music and performance


Being able to play or sing
Being able to read music
Technical skills
Emotional sensitivity
Communication and interpretation
Ensemble skills
Being able to compose or improvise
Organization of sounds

The integration of skills


Personal qualities

Being creative
No sub categories
Metacognition
Motivation

The origin of musical ability

Personal expression
Innate
Learned
An interaction between what is innate and
lerned
Progressive development

ADLIA SYAZANNA BT ABAS


2014315451
MUE 733

Overall comparisons between groups with different levels of musical expertise :


1. Musicians the greatest number of responses in different categories, total 695
2. Educators 329 responses, a mean of 4
3. Student musicians 201 response, a mean of 3.35
4. Non musican, non educator adults 337 responses with a mean of 3.

Musician focus on being able to sing or play musical instruments.


Educator the key focus was also being able to sing or play instruments.
Non musician and educator adults

Discussion
1. As we can see the conceptions of musical ability were complex and multi faceted.
2. Gardner (1993) proposed that one of the criteria for establishing an intelligence was a
definable set of expert end state performance.
3.Implication for music education itself must enable the development of all these skills.
Learning to play an instrument without concurrently developing an understanding and
appreciation of music is not sufficient to develop musical potential.
4. The students uninvolved in extra-curricular musical activities held the most simple
conceptions in perceiving musical ability as taking part in musical activities.
5. Adults (non musician and educator) perceived that musical ability as singing or playing
musical instrument or composing music.

ADLIA SYAZANNA BT ABAS


2014315451
MUE 733

6. Young people involved in extra-curricular activites, sharing the perception of playing and
singing as indicative of musical ability, stressed apppreciatiton of and responsiveness to music.
7. The musicians saw interpreting and communicating as an important element of musical
ability.Relating to very diverse aspects of musicianship.Giving greater prominence to motivation,
personal involvement, learning skills, metacognition, emotional expression and communication
skills.
8. The educator emphasized musical appreciation more than the musicians.
9.The practical implications for education is the opportunities to learn to play an instrument,
sing and be involved in extra-curricular music activities should therefore be made available to all
children.