Experimental Study of Game-Based Music Education


An Experimental Study of Game-Based Music Education of Middle School Students

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Music is one of the fundamental aspect of the modern day society, as a result, various education programs have been introduced in schools to enable students to be equipped with a diverse knowledge concerning various musical aspects. Besides, music professionals are in agreement that early childhood and music is an indispensable education tool. For this reason, it integral to implement game-based music education for middle school students to ensure that they gain pedagogical knowledge on various musical concepts. Rhythm is one of the vital musical aspects that children need to learn, therefore, it is important to identify effective methods of teaching kids especially those in 6th grade how to identify certain rhythms, rhythm metre, and the repeated patterns of sound. Bingo, being one of the games that most children are familiar with, is integral toward teaching children the fundamental music concepts.

According to Hannon and Johnson (2005), the rapidly changing auditory patterns has presented a significant challenge to young kids for an extended period. Therefore, it is crucial to identify ways through which the kids can learn to organize, parse, and interpret eminent patterns that are either present in the poems or music that they interact with. The research by Hannon and Johnson (2005) emphasize that most children are using distributional properties of sound such as how frequent they occur, co-occurrence of syllables or units, and alternations of strong and weak sound to understand how they can structure in music. Notably, understanding various rhythmic patterns and metre is not simple and require long-term interactive moment and knowledge induced methods to enable young kids to identify, produce rhythms and further classify the metre. For these reason, game-based learning strategies have been suggested by the previous literatures as one of the strategies that can be used by teachers to help educate children.

Even though BINGO has been used in the past to help learners to recognize various rhythmic patterns, there is little evidence on whether the same game can play a multidimensional role of helping learners to identify and reproduce the notes in beats, write down the notations, and further classification of the rhythm metre. BINGO has various rhythmic patterns in the 12 different cards. As the children play, they are able to note 22 different patterns that are present in the cards and match the sound with the one that they hear. Notably, teachers have to identify the correct patterns that need to be included in the cards to ensure that learners attain the best outcome. However, there are no clear scientific indication that the game can successfully help children in the classification of rhythmic metre.

Objective of the Research

The primary objective of this study is to determine integral strategies that can help children to learn about rhythm. As mentioned in the background of the research, music and poetry which are inherent components in the modern day learning curriculum. Besides, despite the popularity of music among kids through the melody songs and other musical games, most children are not is a position to identify various rhythmic patterns upon reaching 6th grade. Perhaps this is the underlying reason why there is a wide range of research studies on how rhythm oriented learning despite the fact that it is one of the three components of music. The second objective of the research is determine how game-based music education can be used to teach children how they can beat the rhythm patterns that comprises on several divisions. Subsequently, the research also aim at determining whether the game-based can be used to improve students knowledge on how to write rhythmic patterns that comprise of different divisions.

To gain extensive knowledge on identifying the rhythm and beating the rhythm patterns, learners need to understand the divisions of quarter, half, eighth and triplet notes into two and four. Therefore, the research aim at enlightening children on various divisions. Generally, a rhythm is pattern of duration of notes that is synchronized with steady, however, metre is arrangement of rhythms in a repetitive pattern of strong and weak beats and they can be classified through an excellent counting of the number of beats. Even though this is a common knowledge among high school and university graduates, many kids have less understanding on how to classify various rhythm meters. For this reason, this research aim to help learners gain an excellent understand how they can classify various rhythms that they have identified.

Purpose of the Research

The primary objective of the research is to determine the overall impact of game-based music education on the ability of middle school students to successfully classify rhythmic metre. The main reason for using game-based learning is to motivate and engage all the learners thus leading to more effective learning even at a supplemental level. For an extended period e-learning or commercial games such as video based games plays have been used across many schools in the United States and some parts of Europe, however, this study intend to carry out an experimental research on the effectiveness BINGO which is not an e-learning method towards imparting the right knowledge among the young learners. Basically, BINGO can be utilized by learning institutions located in developing countries such as African nations as well as among the poor individuals in the developed states. As a result, it give parents opportunity to play an active role towards educating their children on fundamental concepts of classification of rhythmic metre.

Subsequently, with BIGO being one of the most common games available for kinds and involving a wide range of songs, it is one of the games that can be utilized to ensure that children gain an in-depth knowledge about rhythm. Performance of rhythm is one of the fundamental requirement for kids who are learning various musical concept. In particular, training kids rhythmic patterns through a plays will enable them to consistently replicate movement pattern with both temporal and spatial accuracy. Moreover, the research aim to create an understanding among tutors on how they can help children reproduce rhythmic stimulus. There are four fundamental rhythms (cosmic, biological, perceived-reproduced, and performance rhythm). The purpose of the research is to determine whether plays such as BINGO can help learners to learn and, reproduce and write down all the rhythms.

Hypothesis of the Study

Based on the background of the research and findings of other literature, this study set four hypothesis that will be tested through an experimental research to determine whether they are true.

H1: Play games such as BINGO have a positive impact towards helping children to learn rhythm elements in music

H2: BINGO can help children to reproduce the notes that consist of various divisions in beats.

H3: BINGO have a positive impact towards help children to write down various patterns that comprise of different divisions (notations).

H4: BINGO can positively help children to understand different ways on how they can classify the rhythm metre.

Literature Review

The Role of Games in Learning Music

Game-based learning (GBL) is an instructional technique that assists learners to work towards a specific objective, take control of their activities, and experience the outcome of their selections along the way. Learning music via GBL ensures that students stay motivated and promotes their comprehension of complicated concepts. Since the ancient times, games have been associated with various elements of humans everyday life activities. In addition to entertainment related role, games act as effective teaching tool because of their ability to engage learner (players). Musical games are integrated in the informal growth of the child and teachers strive to encourage the interactive features like rhythmic elements in to the formal learning settings like classrooms. Furthermore, rhythm games are a fundamental tool in music education because it motivates learners, encourage motivation and it assists in reinforcing all the rhythm readings taught to the students.

When working with the children, the best approach is starting with appropriate children songs and integrating relevant rhythms. However, the main concern for teachers is how music should be instructed the students during the earlier childhood, the pre-school ages specifically between 3-12 years. In music rhythm is regarded as the primary component that develops the perception of time (Bonacina, 2019). Rhythm abilities are not heritable skills but rather they are developed and improved with time through training and a students performance may differ across varied rhythmic assessments. Rhythmic skills are developed through four to seven years during which learners become increasingly capable to instantly respond to various categories of auditory stimuli and simple rhythmic drives.

Majority of the student who learn music instruments tend to do so in a classroom environment in a general and a specialist music instructional system. While specialist music teaching is available for the older students as an elective choice, general music training is usually offered to individuals of young age and it emphasizes on creativity, crucial music skills and appreciation of music. Individuals can engage in music education when 5-6 years or younger. Teaching music education progresses through three steps; firstly, during the early years, the instructor serves to initiate interest and enthusiasm in participants. Secondly, the teachers role is to act as the source of knowledgeable criticism and direction and lastly, the tutor applies significant force on the students musical approaches, values and connects based upon the lecturers experience with own trainer.

Gordons music learning theory (GMLT) is used to elaborate how people learn when they study music. Besides the theory provides a comprehensive detail for training audiation to assist individuals to hear and understand music in the mind. Furthermore, the principle of the model guides music instructors of all bands (for instance early childhood, instrumental and private studio) in developing progressive curricular objectives that aligns with their instruction techniques and beliefs. The main goal of GMLT is to assist students to develop tonal and rhythmical audiation through which learners are able to draw significant meaning from the music they listen to, perform, invent and create. Learning music is promoted when the tutors comprehends the potential of their students to succeed in music and instruct systemically to individual difference. Moreover, learners develop their audiation abilities by engaging in singing, rhythmic and tonal patterns before being taught the concept of notation and music model.

Based on the music learning theory, rhythm consists of three aspects, macrobeats, microbeats and melodic. Macrobeats are those individuals feels to be the lengthiest and in most cases they are paired whereby one macrobeat associates with a succeeding one of equivalent or unequal period. When dancing to particular music, an individual step to every pair of the macrobeat with one foot followed by the other. Microbeats are identifies as shorter compared to macrobeats and they are as a result of uneven temporal partition of macrobeats. Furthermore, commonly, macrobeats are separated into either two or three microbeats of identical time interval. Lastly, melodic rhythms refer to the ongoing sequence of rhythmic arrays in a piece of music. All these three components must be audiated at a similar time to create rhythm syntax.

Consistency of teaching is challenging to find in various classroom, schools or nations. Tutors apply numerous methods to rhythm teaching in their classroom to assist students in transitioning from effective systems for beginners to those that serves complex rhythm designs. A child-centred learning is an effective approach of instructing educational programs in schools. The most crucial tool in a child-centered learning is play through which they can accomplish various aspects including active development of knowledge regarding the world, comprehension of social skills and development of social self-regulation and self-efficacy. Play assists in meeting the childrens developmental requirements as they tend to naturally respond to music, rhythms and positive social engagements during musical play. Moreover, play voluntary and intrinsically inspired due to curiosity, relationships or mastery. Play is characterized by emerging and changing aims that students develop instinctively and flexibly. A student-centered education is associated with concepts like collaborative learning, flexible, and self-directed instruction (Singhal, 2017). Furthermore, the approach emphasizes on prioritizing students interests while recognizing their voices as central to the learning practices.



The research utilised an experimental study design whereby participants were assigned into different groups and quantitative data was collected. Using this design, a pre and a post-test details of the control group was recorded. The study subjects were six graders from an identifies primary school and a total of 52 individuals were included in the research out of which 26 were in the study group and the remaining were classified under the control group. Furthermore, while there were 23 girls, 56% of the participants (29 students) were boys. Data was collected using various approaches; firstly, personal information forms were utilised in obtaining personal details about the members. Secondly, an observational form for all the students was used to fill in details about the games played and the activities conducted in the classroom for both the experimental and the control groups. Thirdly, an information assessment was prepared by the examiners to analyse the learners knowledge regarding the “Classification of Rhythmic Metre” in music and it was given to the participants before and after experimental research. The test consisted of 15 questions and the knowledge and the skills was limited in accordance to the 6th graders curriculum in primary schools.


This was a four week experimental procedure where all the selected participants had to go through a pre-test and a post test. During the first week, competency level of all the candidates was measured before they were engaged in any education or training program. A 15seconds audio was played to each student independently in the presences of their teacher. After listening to the audio two time, each student was expected to answer ten sets of questions related to the research problem. This questions included identifying the rhythm that they could hear from the audio, reproducing, the identified rhythm, writing it down and further classifying the rhythm metre into duple(strong-weak), triple(strong-weak-weak), and quadruple(strong-weak-weak-weak). The teachers recorded the scores of each student in a scale of 1(less competency) – 10(high competency). T-test was used to compare the mean score of the experimental group and the control group.

After carrying out t-test to determine the difference in the competency scores between the two selected groups, all the candidates were later enrolled into two different train programs that were supervised by their respective teachers. In particular, all the groups were taught similar topics by the same tutors but using different methods to deliver the instructions. For instance, the traditional strategy was used teach the control group while game-based music education was used to teach the experimental group. The learners were trained on note durations (quarter, half, eighth, sixteenth notes), their names and their beating types.



Bonacina,S., Krizman,J., White-Schwoch,T., Nicol,T., & Kraus,N. (2019). How rhythmic skills relate and develop in school-age children. Global Pediatric Health, 6, 2333794X1985204.

Hannon, E. E., & Johnson, S. P. (2005). Infants use meter to categorize rhythms and melodies: Implications for musical structure learning. Cognitive Psychology, 50(4), 354-377.

Singhal,D. (2017). Understanding student- Centered learning and philosophies of teaching practices. International Journal of scientific research and management.



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