This study is an investigation of the effects of finger placement markers (FPMs) and harmonic context on the left-hand technique, intonation performance skills, and overall musical performance skills of sixth-grade beginning string students. Central to this study was the question of how a tactile/visual reference and an aural reference influence the development of string intonation performance skills. Subjects were assigned to research conditions in a 2×2 factorial design (FPMs by harmonic context). Students received 90 minutes of weekly, heterogeneous-group instruction from the same teacher and used researcher-prepared audio home practice tapes to accentuate their class experience. Subjects with FPMs played significantly more in tune than those who did not have FPMs. Students whose instruction and practice were accompanied by harmonic background demonstrated a higher degree of overall musical performance ability. Differences were significant even after adjusting for musical aptitude. There were no differences in left-hand technique. Results of this study endorse the theoretical and practical support for the use of these teaching techniques in beginning string instruction.
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