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Publication Detail
A schema theory of how children learn to sing in tune
Abstract
The literature on children's singing reveals that, for each age group, there are some children who cannot sing in tune. These children are labelled “poor pitch singers” (p.p.s.). The literature suggests that singing in tune is not simply a question of “can” or “cannot” but rather a continuum of skill with several degrees of competence. In general, the numbers of p.p.s. within sample populations declines with age, with boys outnumbering girls by 2 or 3 to 1. The customary method of treating this disability, although implying that improvement is possible, has only shown limited success. Reference to the psychological literature on feedback, however, suggests that, (1) learning can only take place when Knowledge of Results (KR) is present, and (2) variety of experience rather than repeated measures of the same kind may be more conducive to producing “novel” patterns of behaviour. Applying these findings to the mechanism of singing, a schema theory of how children learn to sing in tune is proposed, under which a recall and recognition schema are hypothesised as being responsible for vocal pitch production, and vocal pitch accuracy is determined by the efficiency of an error labelling schema. © 1985, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.
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