Thesis Title

The Effectiveness of Three Music Instructional Strategies When Teaching Rhythmic Concepts to Fourth Graders

Date of Graduation

Summer 2007


Master of Music



Committee Chair

Norma McClellan


music education, Kodály, Orff, textbook series, instructional strategies

Subject Categories



A variety of instructional methods exist in today's elementary music classroom. The techniques used to teach the basic elements of music are wide and varied and often debated among educators, but three methods are widely used: the Kodaly method, the Orff process, and the use of a music textbook series. The Kodaly method uses a very sequential approach to music through singing and developmentally appropriate activities. The Orff philosophy of instruction emphasizes a natural process of student imitation, exploration, and improvisation using Orff instruments and other hands-on tools. A music textbook series may include a variety of activities and resources, organized into written lessons for educators. Research into these three instructional strategies can give educators insight into their own teaching styles and help to further professional growth. This study attempted to determine the effectiveness of the Kodaly method, the Orff approach and a textbook series treatment using a rhythm lesson in the fourth grade music classroom. Eight classes of fourth graders were divided into four groups, and each group was taught the same rhythm lesson using one of the three instructional methods, with the fourth group acting as the control group. Students were assessed using a pre- and post-test. The study was conducted over four sessions, and the test scores were then analyzed. Data showed a significant difference between pre- and post-test scores, meaning that achievement was made in the instruction process. Group B, which used the Orff process, showed the most improvement. A post-hoc analysis compared the effectiveness of each group to the others and showed there was no significant difference. Student improvement was made, but not necessarily because of the specific teaching method.


© Salley R. Gibson