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Uses of spectrographic analyses to improve tone quality of middle school trumpet students

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This study investigated whether the use of spectrogram improved tone quality among middle school trumpet students. The study was quasi-experimental using non-equivalent control and experimental groups with a pre-test and post-test design over the course of four weeks. Trumpet students involved ranged in age from 11 to 14 in Grades 6–8. The sixth graders were beginners, the seventh graders second-year players and eighth graders third-year players. The study was completed at an urban middle school in the upper Midwest of the United States. At weekly group lessons, each student played a pre-test, was taught a lesson in tone quality and then performed a post-test. The musical excerpt was the same for each test as was the instruction. The experimental groups were allowed to look at their spectrograms in real time while playing, while the control groups were not able to look at their spectrograms. A comparison of the pre-test and post-test means of the eighth grade groups indicated an increase in the scores of the experimental group over the control group from Week 1 to Week 4. The seventh grade experimental group improved only slightly over the control group. No change in the means of the scores was evident among the sixth graders. Using the software ‘Spectrogram’ (which produced the spectrograms in real time) appeared to have an effect in improving the tone quality among the seventh and eighth grade experimental groups.
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Keywords: beginning; brass; spectrogram; technology; tone; trumpet

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Saydel Community School District

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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  • The Journal of Music, Technology and Education (JMTE) explores the issues concerning the use of technology in music education. It examines pedagogy at all levels and across genres such as composition, musicology, performance and music production. It is the only journal specifically dedicated to the educational aspects of music technology and the technological aspects of music. Peer-reviewed, with an international editorial board, JMTE aims to draw its contributions from a broad community of educators, researchers and practitioners who are working closely with new technologies in the fields of music education and music technology education.
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