The efficacy of folk songs versus songs composed for music education texts as determined by the primary grades music skills test scores of kindergarten and first grade students

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Music Education

First Advisor's Name

Michael J. Wagner

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Carolyn J. Fulton

Third Advisor's Name

Miguel Salvador

Date of Defense



The purpose of this research was to determine whether folk songs versus songs composed for music education texts would improve the music memory and performance skills of kindergarten and first grade students in a Miami Dade County Public School as measured by “The Primary Grades Music Skills Test” (PGMST). The folk songs selected for this study are multi-ethnic.

A sample of 80 students, 40 from kindergarten and 40 from first grade was drawn from the Lincoln-Marti School, an affiliate private school of the Miami Dade County Public School System. Within each grade level, 20 students composed the Experimental group and 20 the Control group (N=80).

Before attempting this project, a Primary Grades Music Skills Test designed and piloted by myself was administered to determine reliability. Results were positive, students understood and were able to perform all tasks in the pilot test.

Both, Experimental and Control groups for kindergarten and first grade were then administered the PGMST to determine baseline skills. An instruction period consisting of 20 consecutive daily music lessons of 20 minutes duration each, followed the Pretest. All lessons included 10 minutes of rudimentary music drills and 10 minutes of teaching four folk songs to the Experimental group and four songs composed for music education texts to the Control group. Upon completion of the instruction period, both the Experimental and Control groups were administered the PGMST as a Posttest in order to measure acquired musical achievement.

Posttest findings showed positive gains in the mean scores for correct responses in both groups. On the Posttest, the kindergarten Experimental group exceeded the kindergarten Control group by a margin of 20.31%. The first grade Experimental group exceeded the first grade Control group by a margin of 18.43%.



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