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  • Thumbnail for Curwen hand signs and pitch accuracy in sight-reading in the secondary choral classroom
    Curwen hand signs and pitch accuracy in sight-reading in the secondary choral classroom by Forero-Hordusky, Kristina Alexis

    This study served to test a hypothesis that using Curwen hand signs while practicing sight-reading would improve pitch accuracy. This study is designed, in part, to begin dialogue surrounding beneficial sight-reading practices in an effort to develop a nationwide curriculum for performing arts programs. Students participated in pretest/posttest assessments as well as qualitative surveys to assess background familiarity with using hand signs as well as assess the general attitude towards the practice of sight-reading. They also completed a modality preference instrument to determine whether kinesthetic learners benefitted differently. After one pretest assessment, students were conditioned for two months, followed by two posttest assessments. The conditioning phase consisted of techniques and philosophies based in the Kodály method, created by Hungarian composer and educator Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967). This method also incorporates the use of hand signs to represent diatonic scale degrees as created and implemented by John Curwen (1816-1880). While the data collected shows no correlation between simply using hand signs and improved test scores, there are many variables that can be attributed to these results, including consecutive years in a choir program, requirements set forth by previous instructors, and modality learning preferences. Many of these issues are discussed in the results of the study. The main result of the study indicates that there are a myriad of paths to take towards the development of a nationwide curriculum for sight-reading.