Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2010

Degree Name

DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Katherine Eberle

First Committee Member

Katherine Eberle

Second Committee Member

Stephen Swanson

Third Committee Member

John Muriello

Fourth Committee Member

Robert C. Cook

Fifth Committee Member

Michael Everson


The singer faces some significant challenges in learning to read music, namely that their instrument has no physical domain for pitch and they must sing two languages simultaneously. When those challenges are combined with the fact that they often arrive in college with less well-developed literacy skills compared with instrumentalists, and that musical literacy instruction is often linked immediately with theoretical analysis before literacy has been established, it is not surprising that singers graduate with graduate degrees with poor musical literacy skills. Using principles of second language acquisition and reading theory, this paper seeks to present a case for the separation of theory and literacy in college curricula, and proposes that such a development will not only see the musical literacy skills of singers improve, but can be seen as the foundation for the connection of performance and theoretical streams of musical study in higher education.


language, music literacy, reading pedagogy, vocal pedagogy


v, 193 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 174-193).


Copyright 2010 Michelle Joy Crouch

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