MA Dissertation- please help!!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by LJ_Flugel, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. LJ_Flugel

    LJ_Flugel New Member

    I’ve just started my Masters degree in Early years and unfortunately have to get started on my dissertation soon, so have to come up with a subject to research. I want to do something to do with music, then at least it’s something I’m interested in and hopefully I won’t find it as boring and stressful as the last one I did!!
    It’s got to be something to do with early years/ early years education/ young children etc, so I was thinking something to do with music education/ quality of music education/ benefits of it etc, or maybe something to do with young children and music therapy, but am having difficulty deciding on something specific. Just wondered if anyone had any good ideas that I haven’t thought of, or could provide a bit of inspiration for me! Any help is much apreciated!
  2. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    Can you broaden it to something like how music is actually learned by children? By that I mean, how do children understand the concept of music at all, and how that should affect how its taught. Physiologically and psychologically speaking I mean, from a child developmental point of view.......the actual mechanisms of beginning to understand musical concepts.

    This is a subject I find really interesting myself. The vast differences in musical ability, especially at the early years ages is fascinating to one 5 year old can for example sing perfectly in tune and keep a good rhythm, while another 5 year old can barely keep a steady rhythm and has hardly any concept of pitch.....but as they get older this evens out.
  3. RizzRazz

    RizzRazz New Member

    this is my specialty

    I'm a PhD specializing in music development in babies, toddlers, up through to K and 1st grade (old kids to me).

    You're welcome to contact me for a brief consultation.
    Do it here on this thread or contact me at

    -Dr. Eric
  4. shaunbasstrom

    shaunbasstrom Member

    what about something to do with the mozart effect?
  5. LJ_Flugel

    LJ_Flugel New Member

    Thanks so much for the replies so far. I like the idea of how children learn music, that sounds really interesting and I could probably research and write a lot about it. At least that kind of thing would hopefully benefit me in teaching in the future too!
    Thanks for that offer RizzRazz, it's very kind of you, and I may well take you up on it once I've decided on something!
    What do you mean by the mozart effect? (sorry if it's something really obvious I should know about!)
  6. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Google 'Mozart effect' - basically, classical music (or some classical music) heard from early age/womb may increase IQ....

    Of course, if the womb isn't early enough for you, there may be sperm/ova studies out there... ;)
  7. RizzRazz

    RizzRazz New Member

    Can I tell you what I think about the Mozart Effect?

    It's really almost certainly bogus. I studied with one of the best music education research minds in the world and we spent almost no time dissecting the body of work of Fran Rauscher et al. Her papers were deemed a waste of time in our research methods class except as an example of how not to do research. If you understand some of the basic tenets of appropriate research method including it's design, analysis and how to interpret results, then you would come away after reading the original study (and not the interpretations of the popular press and the ensuing frenzy) with serious doubts about why this ever gained the traction it did.

    Further, it's an indictment of the music education community that we used it to further our interest—that is, to justify music education on the (albeit highly questionable) effects that it has on other subjects. The original Mozart Effect study has never been duplicated. It's not been shown to be valid. Even if it was a valid finding, for what purpose would you play Mozart for an "effect" that lasts only a few minutes? for only a small increase in a spatial reasoning score on a measure that in itself may lack validity?

    I can go on, but I'll stop for now. I get on my soap box. It irks me that this "Mozart Effect" concept has lasted as long as it has. There's nothing magical about Mozart except that it will remain some of the best of the best music to listen to FOR ITS OWN SAKE!

    Ok, I'm gonna breathe and go to bed.

    Any comments?
  8. shaunbasstrom

    shaunbasstrom Member

    I would certainly politely disagree with the above comments. It is not the music of mozart in particular, but the listening of classical music generally that is being suggested in the mozart effect. I for one see a difference between the pupils who have had exposure to classical music and those that havent for sure. The fact that there are many different opinions on this matter is evidence enough that it would make a good research project. Perhaps you could come to your own conclusions via research wether or not there is any truth in this concept? All the best with your studies whatever you choose.
  9. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I thought the Suzuki Method would be more appropriate to examine if it's for developmental purposes.
  10. RizzRazz

    RizzRazz New Member

    Your evidence is anecdotal.

    You will find lots of correlational studies between general intelligence and music achievement, but you cannot infer any causation from the measured relationship.

    Take this example:
    Ice cream sales go up in July three-fold at a beach resort. Every July, drownings go up significantly too. Does these mean that eating ice cream causes drownings? Of course not. There is actually a third factor that causes both figures: the rise of beach population for the summer months. This is a simple example but the same underlying problem exists with the research that is feeding the "imaginations" of the readers out there.

    Can I ask what research you have read? On what basis do you come to your opinion?
    Based on the above, I'd like to suggest that children who listen to classical music might come from families who tend to have more "intelligence" or more generally (not specific to classical music), children who already are intelligent are "drawn" into music for its challenge and overcome those challenges more easily than a child who may be exceptionally musical, but lacks other intelligences. This is why there is a relationship between music and IQ for one.

    How many brilliant musicians are there that lack basic intelligence? How many brilliant people are there that lack music intelligence? The two don't hinge on each other. (For instance, Einstein was a horrible violinist.)

    There is no well-designed research that I've read that suggests that listening to classical music makes one smarter. If there is, I'd like to see it. It's near impossible to run a study like this. The evidence is always indirect at best.

    I find that it's very difficult to change minds when it comes to this discussion. Even the music educators I've worked with and read from do not agree. Almost none of them change their minds. They believe what they want and they come to their conclusions based on poorly reported research or the popular press. Few are thoughtful scientists. The ones that are tend to agree with my points.

    Let's keep this discussion rolling. I'd like to see where it goes.
  11. LJ_Flugel

    LJ_Flugel New Member

    Well it turns out I did sort of know what the Mozart effect is, just needed a bit of a reminder! I found a CD at work today called 'The Mozart EFfect, music for babies' that has a bit of information in it too. I didn't really know it was supposed to have an effect on intellectual development though. It only really gets used occasionally at our nursery, and only ever as something calming when we've all had enough of Bob the Builder!! I have noticed that it really does work in that respect though!

    It's an interesting subject, though I do think it's something that would be very difficult to prove or disprove, and maybe it's something that works for some and not for others? It's definately worth me thinking about as a topic though, I'm sure I could find plenty of information for a bit of critical analysis!!:clap:

    Interesting idea... but maybe stretching it a little bit far for me!!;)

    Thanks again for all the replies, this is really helping me. At least I will have something to discuss with the tutor when they ask what I want to do! The tutors know nothing about music though, so it should be interesting!:rolleyes:

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