Practice and ear training: The effects of different practice schedules on the development of a tonal schema

Kevin Patrick Moloney, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to investigate the effects of different practice schedules, particularly blocked and random schedules, on the development of a tonal schema. Two experiments were conducted with Fordham University graduate students who were assigned to, either, blocked or random practice schedules of an ear training task. ^ The ear training task required subjects to identify a given note's position on a musical scale in relation to the tonic note, or first note of the scale. Each trial began with the sounding of two notes, the first being the tonic note, and the second the test note. The training for the two experiments was the same and consisted of two practice schedules, blocked and random. The tones utilized in both experiments were categorized by tonal relationships and separated into three groups: Triads (tones three and five), Super/Sub Tonic (tones two and seven), and Sub Dominant/Mediant (tones four and six). Subjects in the blocked condition received all problems of a given category before proceeding to the next category. Subjects in the random condition received the problems in a completely random order. The transfer task in Experiment 1 was presented in a blocked format, while the transfer task in Experiment 2 was presented in a random format. ^ The results of Experiment 1 demonstrated that, in terms of accuracy, the blocked condition outperformed the random condition during training. In addition, all subjects were more accurate on Super/Sub Tonic problems than on the Triads, or the Sub Dominant/Mediant problems. Subjects in the blocked condition were also more accurate than subjects in the random condition on the blocked transfer task. The training results of Experiment 2 were consistent with Experiment 1. Subjects in the blocked and random conditions performed equivalently on the transfer task of Experiment 2, which was presented in a random format. ^ The results of the two experiments suggested that a blocked training condition was more conducive to the development of a tonal schema, as subjects in the blocked condition outperformed subjects in the random condition during the training and blocked transfer task, and performed equivalently on the random transfer task. ^

Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Cognitive

Recommended Citation

Kevin Patrick Moloney, "Practice and ear training: The effects of different practice schedules on the development of a tonal schema" (January 1, 2004). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3134443.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3134443

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