The planning behaviours of musicians engaging traditional and non-traditional scores

Year: 1997

Author: Millard, Yvette, Cantwell, Robert

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The study investigated the planning strategies of university music students learning a traditionally and non-traditionally notated (graphic notation) score. After completing a modified form of the SPQ, participants read two musical scores on a PC, one line at a time. Reading times for each line were taken, as were reaction times to a secondary probe. At the completion of each score, participants verbalised how they would go about learning the score to a level of performance competence. Protocols were scored for the presence of higher-level, mid-level and lower-level strategies, and for the level of focus in planning. Path analyses, with planning focus as the outcome measure, were separately conducted for each score. In both sets of analyses, reference to higher-level processing strategies predicted a higher planning focus, while a deep approach predicted higher-level strategy use. For the traditional score, surface learning was a negative predictor of high-level strategies, while a longer reading time was a positive predictor of focus. For the non-traditional score, both high- and mid-level strategies predicted a higher focus while low-level strategies predicted a lower focus. Familiarity with graphic notation, through mid-level strategies, also predicted focus. The implications of the results for the teaching of music are discussed.