The main purpose of the study is to examine the effects of teaching through drama warm-up exercises for primary school children with regard to the development of their aural awareness and for use as assessment in school. Drama exercises often including multisensory activities that require the use of multiple senses, such as auditory (hearing), visual (sight), and kinesthetic (movement/touch) pathways. Along with cooperating teachers, I have designed a unit plan and six lesson plans, each consisting of 50-minute lessons that focus on the development of pitch recognition.
The study is a between-subjects design with one dependent variable being measured: pitch accuracy in identifying single pitches and chords.
Ninety third-year students (8–9 years old) participated in the empirical investigation. They were randomly assigned into three training groups: Group 1 – students who received no drama activities in lessons; Group 2 – students who received drama activities in learning single pitch; and Group 3 – students who received drama activities in learning single pitch and chords. Each student was pre- and post-tested on their ability to aurally identify chords and pitches. A pre- and post-teaching semi-structured interview was conducted to collect data on teachers’ thoughts on their own teaching.
A practical and theoretical teaching framework demonstrating the application of drama exercises was developed based on the findings, which shows (1) how the physical enactment or kinesthetic embodiment of an idea (i.e., pitch) can help to improve pitch accuracy in the classroom; and (2) how the concept of imagination in drama exercises leads to the development of the musical awareness and musicianship. The study found that participation in the drama exercises fostered students’ cognitive ability to develop imagination and association of sound. Participation had the additional benefit of encouraging aural awareness and pitch development, and the means of assessment these, in school children. It is hoped that the framework can be introduced as a mediation to improve a student’s aural awareness, and the findings of the study can contribute to the field of teachers’ training by defining aural awareness in a group learning situation through the newly established framework.