Graduate Program

Music Education Option

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion

Summer 2020

Thesis Director

Danelle Larson

Thesis Committee Member

Shellie L. Gregorich

Thesis Committee Member

Liza Meyers


The purpose of this action research study was to discover whether students' experience with folk music from other countries influenced their preference for other unfamiliar music genres. Third grade students were assigned to one of two groups. Students in Group A participated in four weeks of lessons centering on folk music from Ghana, Japan, Israel, and Mexico. Students in Group B participated in four weeks of lessons centering solely on American folk music. Students in both groups answered questions on a listening survey which gauged their preference for unfamiliar pieces of music. The listening survey was given to students before and after their respective units of study. The research question which framed this study was “Do students who are exposed to world folk music indicate more preference for unfamiliar music genres versus those who are not exposed to world folk music?”

Results of the listening survey indicate that exposure to world folk music does have an effect on students’ preferences for unfamiliar music. Students in Group A rated several of the pieces more favorably on the second listening survey, as well as indicated an increased desire to hear the pieces again. Group A students also indicated an increased desire to hear pieces similar to the pieces heard on the second listening survey.