The authors investigated the effectiveness of cooperative listening exercises in developing critical music-listening skills in nonmusic majors. Subjects were college freshmen and sophomores enrolled in Introduction to Western Music. Control-group subjects attended classes taught exclusively in lecture format. Two experimental groups participated in four 50-minute group-listening exercises. Experimental Group 2 engaged in five additional group-analysis exercises, comparing known and unfamiliar musical styles. The consistent use of cooperative-listening exercises proved to be more effective in developing subjects' critical listening skills than either lecture-demonstration or occasional group work. On final exams, Experimental Group 2 scored significantly better than the other groups on identifications of texture, compositional genre, and musical style. To be most effective, group work needs to be implemented on a regular basis-for both the introduction of new material and for its review or application.
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