- The purpose of this study was to contrast the effectiveness of
computer-assisted ear-training instruction with the traditional style
of ear-training instruction to determine if computer-assisted instruction
increased the students' ability to identify auditory stimuli utilized
in Basic Musicianship at a rate different from that of the traditional
The setting of this experiment was at Oregon State University,
Corvallis, Oregon, using classes in Basic Musicianship, during the
fall and winter quarters, 1976-77. Eighty students were randomly
selected and randomly assigned to either the computer-assisted
method (experimental group) or the traditional method (control group).
Both groups used the same textbook and received the same lectures.
The experimental group received the traditional classroom
instruction including the theoretical underpinning necessary for understanding
the concepts of ear-training, and used computer-assisted
programs to reinforce the classroom learning. The control group
received the same theoretical background as did the experimental
group, but was free to reinforce this learning in any manner found
satisfactory to each student.
The Solomon Four-Group design was used to investigate pretest
effect on the posttest scores and on the treatment. The Aliferis
Music Achievement Test was selected as the criterion measure and
was used as both pretest and posttest. Those not required to take the
pretest were given a placebo developed by the researcher. Eight
hours of computer-assisted instruction was administered to members
of the experimental group between pretesting and posttesting.
Using the repeated measures analysis of variance to contrast the
experimental and control groups on the basis of the criterion measure
posttest, the following findings were noted:
1. The computed F for the total criterion test was 12.030 for
the treatment variable, 142.300 for the test variable, and 32.292 for
the interaction, a significant difference favoring the experimental
group at the 0.05 level of confidence. 2. Contrasting the mean scores, based on test question categories
of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic, showed a significant -a
significant difference again favoring the experimental group. In the
melodic category the computed F was 6.527 for the treatment variable,
125.787 for the test variable, and 32.814 for the interaction. In the
harmonic category the computed F was 4.597 for the treatment
variable, 40.599 for the test variable, and 8.270 for the interaction.
In the rhythmic category the computed F was 10.382 for the treatment
variable, 47.134 for the test variable, and 9.640 for the interaction.
All of the F-ratios were significant at the 0.05 level of confidence.
3. Selected t-tests revealed that both groups began the experiment
at the same level of music achievement, and that the pretest had
no learning effect upon the posttest scores.
4. Investigation of the sample using the Bartlett-Box F test for
homogeneity of variance found that both groups were representative of
5. In addition to the criterion measure, a study of student
attitude toward computer-assisted instruction was made. The results
of this questionnaire revealed that the students in the experimental
group held a positive attitude regarding the use of the computer to
The following conclusions were made based on and supported by
the data in this study:
1. That significantly more academic growth in ear-training
occurred when students utilized the computer for this study than when
they did not.
2. That it made no difference if the type of computer-assisted
instruction was melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic, achievement growth
occurred in all areas.
3. That students using the computer were able to save a considerable
amount of time in developing ear-training skills.
4. That because students could conceivably complete the eartraining
portion of Basic Musicianship in less time, the expense of
offering such courses might be reduced.
5. That the students showed a willingness to experiment with
alternative methods of instruction.
6. That the concerns of music educators toward computer
assisted instruction need to be addressed before large-scale
utilization is possible.