A1 Journal article – refereed
The Early Development of Sight-Reading Skills in Adulthood: A Study of Eye Movements




List of Authors: Penttinen M, Huovinen E
Publisher: MENC-NATL ASSOC MUSIC EDUCATION
Publication year: 2011
Journal: Journal of Research in Music Education
Journal name in source: JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN MUSIC EDUCATION
Journal acronym: J RES MUSIC EDUC
Number in series: 2
Volume number: 59
Issue number: 2
ISSN: 0022-4294

Abstract


In this study the effects of skill development on the eye movements of beginning adult sight-readers were examined, focusing on changes in the allocation of visual attention within metrical units as well as in the processing of larger melodic intervals. The participants were future elementary school teachers, taking part in a 9-month-long music training period. During this period, 15 novice sight-readers' development was observed in three measurements, with 15 amateur musicians functioning as a comparison group. The novices' allocation of fixation time within metrical units gradually approached a pattern demonstrated by the amateurs in which increased sensitivity to metrical divisions was evinced by larger average fixation times on the latter halves of bars. Concerning larger melodic skips in otherwise stepwise melodic contexts, an analysis of fixation times suggested that the novices' visual processing of skips did not proceed in terms of note comparison across the skip but rather through a direct identification of the notational symbols involved. Skill development was seen, then, as increasing fluency of this identification process. These and similar findings may lead to a better understanding of the problems encountered by novice sight-readers and thus to advancements in the pedagogy of music reading.



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