Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Music Performance: Instrumental, Piano, Vocal (B.M.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Laura Stambaugh


Music educators take on the daunting task of teaching students a wide array of skills necessary to promote independent musicianship. Among this list of skills is the ability to play with good intonation. The theoretical basis of this study draws on the work of Edwin E. Gordon, his music learning theory, and his audiation based approach to the acquisition of musical proficiency. This study implements three separate treatments: singing with Curwen hand signs, playing with an accurate tonal model, and playing over a tonic drone to measure the effectiveness of each treatment. Participants were 7th grade band students who play flute, alto saxophone, and tenor saxophone. Students engaged in six ten-minute sessions designed around their given treatment. Post-test results showed that playing with an accurate aural model may improve intonation on alto saxophone. Teachers may benefit from providing consistent aural models for students before playing.

Thesis Summary

A study to determine the efficacy of Edwin Gordon's Music Learning Theory to improve pitch discrimination and intonation of second year band students.