The Effects of Gender and Grade Level on the Compositional Processes of Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade Students

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Kurtz, Jonathan David
Carter, Bruce A
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of grade level and gender on the amount of time early adolescents spent on selected compositional processes (exploration, repetition, development, and silence). This study serves as an extension of the Kratus (1989) study that examined the compositional processes used by 7, 9, and 11-year-olds. For this study, 30 students in grades 6, 7, and 8 were given 10 minutes to compose a piece of music on an electronic keyboard. Following the composition time, students were asked to play their compositions two times in a row. The time spent on the compositional processes of exploration, development, repetition, and silence was analyzed quantitatively by the researcher and two independent judges. Analysis showed no significant relationships between grade level and the use of compositional processes. No gender differences were found, and all students in grades 6-8 were able create a composition to some degree. Although no significant main effects were observed, analysis of the mean time spent on the process of development indicates that a trend may exist in which older students spend more time developing ideas than younger students.