Date of Graduation

Spring 2011


Master of Music



Committee Chair

Daniel Hellman


elementary music, hand signs, hand levels, tonal patterns, pitch accuracy

Subject Categories



The use of Curwen hand signs is an accepted part of elementary music pedagogy; however, there is little research comparing their effectiveness with corresponding hand movements. The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of both Curwen hand signs and corresponding kinesthetic movements on the vocal accuracy of second-grade students, as measured by the Singing Voice Development Measure. Fifty-six second grade students from geographically adjacent elementary schools participated in the study. Classes were assigned one of three instructional conditions: hand signs, corresponding hand levels or no use of hands. The study lasted eight weeks and followed a pre-post design. The results did not present a clear indication as to which teaching method, if any, was the most effective for improving vocal accuracy. Interestingly, students taught via hand levels and the control group improved on both the taught pattern and song, and students taught with Curwen hand signs improved on the song but not the pattern. Results are discussed in terms of classroom practice.


© Meghann Bell Elwood

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