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The purpose of this qualitative case study is to examine and understand the effects of music integration when implemented in a Kindergarten learning environment and to explore how singings and rhythmic activities influence academic scores in a typical reading setting. According to Wiggins (2007) "Emergent literacy may be nurtured in children by designing an environment setting that integrates literacy for young children through meaningful music activities to stimulate learning and development in all areas of achievement." While the logics for high test scores have been found throughout many school settings, this is said to be attributed to the contributions of the Arts in some research studies. This study is expected to provide evidence that through the teaching of music integration it can be a significant tool in connecting the arts to academic and provide an opportunity for all students to experience some form of music integration to enhance the meaning of integrated learning.
By looking at current research reviews, this allows the reader to gather information that is clear and support the benefits of music integration in a regular classroom. Brogla-Krupke (2003) states the music curriculum in the education of children integrated in the school's academic areas has been found to be encouraging. The following literature reviews will briefly discuss the studies and research presented to support the benefits of music integration and academic achievement.
In the research performed by Marshall (2010) five strategic points are used to effectively use integration. The five ways to integrate are described as listed:
Depiction - using the common form of observation. This is where information is clearly formulated and understood.
Extension/Projection - using the speculation of what could be the outcome or what may happen. This can be implemented with all ages and appropriate for use with all grade levels.
Reformatting - using the thought process of change and seeing in a different light. This adds new interpretation to the subject being taught or presented
Mimicry - using tools to replicate the original. This can be done by looking at a specific subject and creating a similarity, and
Metaphors - using many different ways to describe the topic at hand. ( pp. 1-10 )
In what ways can we look at integrating the Arts? According to Parson (2004) "we need to understand that Art is inherently connected to all disciplines and that art addressees content and ideas from outside of, includes the ideas and information associated with academic disciplines (p.17).
When it comes to music integration there are a number of similarities in the instruction of math and reading literacy. Music is read from left to right and top to bottom, the same as reading words [eye-motor coordination]'' (Lloyd, 1978, p. 323). Based upon these thoughts of specialists in the fields of music and literacy, the integration of music into literacy learning settings may aid in language development while promoting musical development at the same time (Wiggins, 2007, p. 32). Beginning with the pre-school through fourth grade there are many lessons that can be used to integrate. A scenario that illustrates how music can be integrated into the early childhood setting is found through the support of music in literacy development. In a study performed by Wiggins (2009) a group of young pre -school aged children enrolled in a center for kids took storybooks like Down by the Cool of the Pool by Mittin (2002) and integrated reading literacy by simply reading along with the teacher.
Yet another academic journal written by Nielsen (2009) discusses that "The distinctive task of music pedagogical research is to question, explore, and develop issues, conditions, and potentialities within the practice of music education by rendering them accessible to consciousness and conceptual thought in verbal terms" (p. 23). In teaching music and looking at research one will notice that the research is found to be easy and cross disciplinary when it comes to a number of subjects. Some researchers even argue that teaching music as a methodical subject is part of studying music, while others identify it as an aspect of general music learning, oriented towards a specialized area of content (Nielsen, 2009).
According to Regelski (2009) the failure of music education as praxis to make a pragmatic difference for individuals and society that is noticeable and notable thus creates a "legitimation crisis." This simply means that the claims on music presented within the schools have very little influence on the effects and benefits that many claims are weakened. Although music is available for listening, people do not only benefit from listening to music and find this to be valuable but most people attend concerts, operas and engage in the learning and practice of music are found to be ordinary common people (Peterson & Kern, 1996). Former research according to Brouillette (2010) suggests that long before the academic effects of arts-based became a focus of public attention, a widespread belief existed that art experiences contribute to individual moral and emotional development.
Researchers Gouzouasis, Guhn, and Kishor, (2007) discusses very little research has been conducted and found to examine the relationship between achievement in music and achievement in core academic courses. Music has been associated with feelings of being safe, accepting, and trustworthy relationship and, as such, can be a substitute for relationships (Laiho, 2004). According to Barry (2008) he describes integration as a two way model in which music and other subject areas are included and honored in a meaningful that provides a rich, comprehensive learning experience that cross cultural and individual differences, resulting in a productive and motivating experience for learners and for teachers.
Research and Design and Methods
According to Nielsen (2009) research is in itself a practice with norms, demands, and criteria for quality, which are not necessarily, or only indirectly, relevant to the music educational practice being studied. When it comes to research teachers are key authorities through which research first begins and foremost must be communicated to others if it is to have an influence on the teaching and learning situation (Nielsen, 2009). Research has long been the foundation for building and establishing the music and literacy connection, but there are not many who will implement the integration for many reasons. Some the reasons being that some teachers feels inadequate to teach the integration piece. All the best practice methods when reading to small children can then be incorporated into the reading of the story to promote emergent literacy. For example, if the book has a repetitive refrain, the children can and should be encouraged to join in during the reading of the story as the refrain recurs in the book.
According to Wiggins (2009) it is not unusual to hear the opinion that educational research has and has always had very little influence on education in practice. If research is to have an influence on educational practice this must take place through the musical influence and efforts of players/agents who in some way are involved in teaching and learning.
In the Learning Through Music (LTTM) program, teachers will report and record students' work while being engaged, motivated, and challenged by an arts-based curriculum. This will be Qualitative case study. Teachers will be introduced to the Learning Through Music concept that values the music integration curriculum as meeting the needs of every learning style, and giving all students the opportunity to be successful. An integrated music and reading curriculum will be given to a group of elementary students during their music class, while another group received the traditional music curriculum. The integrated music and reading activity will be researched over a period of 36 weeks or a full school year, which ever provides enough evidence to support the research. The use of videotaping/DVD format and observations will be a form of collecting research information. At the end of the time period, all groups will be measured on reading achievement levels. This is a holistic approach that involves the whole person, including emotional, behavioral, and psychological aspects. Some qualitative data, in the form of supporting statements, will be gathered through observation of students and informal interviews with teachers at the end of the intervention.
This investigation and research will draw parallels between the stimulation of nonmusical and musical models. These models will prove that music influences students' behavior, engages the brain, and contributes to organize information. Utilizing music integration will confirm that rhythm and sound is patterns enhance effective memory formation (Thaut, 2005). The software tool that seems to be to be an effective instrumental tool is a product called Hyper Research. This tool supports that of a qualitative research and the steps to be implemented as indicated in this research by allowing the researcher to organize and arrange information in files that can be sorted and referred back to at another time and point within the research period. It also helps with identifying photos and audio inputs that can be reviewed as one analyzes the collected information. The groups in the research will be of a control and experimental group of elementary age students. This study will also model a study performed by Lyons (2008) centered on music integration enhancing reading literacy.
This Qualitative data analysis of this current research prospectus will endeavor to follow the steps outlined by Creswell (2009) for the data analysis as stated below:
Step 1. Organize and preparing for relevant data for analysis. This will commence with interviews with the Kindergarten staff who will be participating in the research.
Step 2. Will involve review of data and informational ideas, meanings, tone of the meanings and ideas heard, and the usefulness and creditability of the information.
Step 3. Involves putting the informational data into sections. Creswell (2009) refers to this as coding. Coding helps to separate the large chunks of material and organize it into segments before developing the meaning to information (Rossman & Rallis, 1998, p. 171). This data analysis will be textual.
Step 4: Will be that of intentionally looking for remarks that will guide for the process (pp. 185-186).
According to Merriam (1998) Qualitative research analysis of the data involves identifying "recurring patterns (in the form of categories, factors, variables, and themes) that cut through the data or delineation of a process" (p. 11). The data collection will be strategized by initially reviewing administrated pre and posttest given to students on the Kindergarten grade level at the beginning of the academic school year. This District Assessment will be used to identify academic progress. The Reading Progress along with the music integration will be gathered confirm whether the Music integration in Reading enhances academic achievement and offer suggestions for improving literacy education.
Argument Logic and Construction
Aristotle, on the contrary, does not relate music on the level with the interests of society and state, but believes that there is significance in the personal growth of the person. The meaning or importance for music can be said to be attributed to one's personal interest and does not depends on the age of the person. In other words young people can still experience the beauty and power of identifying with music, since studying and learning usually does not always mean entertainment, whereas adults may experience the entertaining power of music. During a person's leisure time, music can produce a relaxing and calming atmosphere. This means that not only the ethical, but also the pleasure seeking experience and dimension have been recognized in music.
Although many great men had ideas of what integration should look like, the key is having curriculum standards that can be implemented in the integration approach. By incorporating the standards one builds a platform for accountability and meets the national and international thoughts regarding developmentally appropriate practice. It is generally agreed that both literacy and music development occur along a continuum toward a common goal of critical and creative expression (Wiggins, 2009). In order to begin to build an effective and successful music-integrated literacy experiences, early childhood teachers need to think of and be aware of how the blend the literacy activity and music activities as they occur. Although a teacher may not possess the musical knowledge and skills needed to promote music integration, but have a desire to try, they will be able to establish the musical confidence that is needed when teaching. The music specialist at the local elementary schools can offer great support and be a great resource for the early childhood teacher who wishes to gain added insight into how the music specialist works with young children. Music-enhanced early literacy experiences do celebrate and support diversity, are representative of varied and creative instructional approaches, and inherently promote critical and creative thinking (Wiggins, 2009). If academic success can boost through music integration and other forms of the arts why ignore the possibilities?