An investigation of rhythm reading practices in Texas middle school choirs
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The purpose of this study was to investigate rhythm reading instructional practices used in the middle school choral classroom. The study included an assessment of the amount of time spent on rhythm instruction per week, an examination of choral sight reading method books and pedagogical techniques employed, and the rhythm counting system used. A link to a researcher-designed survey was emailed to current Texas middle school choral directors and 129 responded with a response rate of 15%. Questions addressed demographics, teaching experience, musical training, and teaching methodology. Analysis of popular choral methods books showed that most of the available literature support a separation of pitch and rhythm during instruction. Results of the survey indicated that time spent on rhythm instruction and the pedagogical approaches used varied greatly among middle school choral directors. Further, many participants had not received rhythm training in middle school or high school choir. Recommendations for future research include a study of band and orchestra rhythm instructional practices and how they could be adapted for the choral classroom. Additionally, investigation into rhythm pedagogy presented in university choral methods classes could provide possible solutions to raising the level of rhythmic aptitude among middle school and high school choral students.