Multimodal Learning Strategies for Post-Secondary Music Theory: An Action Research Project

Session Description
A functional knowledge of western musical notation can be a difficult tool for students to acquire. Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an academic assistance program that utilizes peer-assisted study sessions to help students master course content through multimodal (auditory, visual, tactile, kinesthetic) activity facilitation. Due to the uniqueness of music theory learning, SI leaders at a University in California have expressed difficulty in creating and modifying multimodal learning strategies for music theory learners. This action research project investigated the efficacy of a multimodal SI strategies resource site developed for Music Theory SI Leaders using Wix. This accessible website contains curated and original content, and was provided to Music Theory SI Leaders as an optional resource to assist in the creation of constructivist, collaborative learning environments in SI sessions. SI lesson plans created by leaders with access to the website were collected, analyzed, and compared to lesson plans developed without access to the resource site. SI leaders who used the website planned more auditory, kinesthetic, and group learning strategies. The types of auditory and kinesthetic strategies used changed from discussion-based practices to strategies known to facilitate the development of internal audiation. A significant reduction (66%) in the use of “paper-based” individual activities not consistent with effective SI pedagogy occurred. This paper explores the viability of Supplemental Instruction programs for Music Theory and suggests models for best practices based on qualitative and quantitative data from SI leaders. Areas for suggested further research on short and long term student performance and improvement are indicated.
Mary Mercurio Santos
Mary Mercurio Santos, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI, USA
A native of Pasadena, California, Malia Mercurio Santos began her career dancing hula, singing, arranging music and training chanters for Hālau Nā Pua Lehua I Ka Ua Noe, under the direction of Kumu Hula Keoni Chang. Throughout her 10 years as a dancer, and 15 years as a Hawaiian musician, Mary has performed at competitions, festivals, and private engagements throughout throughout the Mainland U.S. and the Hawaiian Islands. Malia has collaborated on the development of five albums, with her work on 2016’s Nō Ka Beauty receiving a Nā Hōkū Hannah Awards Nomination.

As a classical performer, Malia has performed with Azusa Pacific University’s Oratorio Choir, Azusa Pacific University Opera, Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, the CBSO Youth Orchestra of Birmingham, England. She has served as a section leader, featured soloist, and Interim Music Director for several churches and synagogues throughout Southern California.

Malia holds a degree in Physical, Biological, and Mathematical Sciences from Citrus College, and a Bachelor of Music from Azusa Pacific University. Her Masters Degree in Education will be completed at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in May, 2018. She is a member of the American Musicological Society, the Society for Music Theory, and is a member of the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Artists.

Mary is currently employed as a Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction Coordinator for Azusa Pacific University. She is passionate about using sound educational principles and technology to help students and student educators grow into their callings.

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