Middle and High School String Students’ Preferences for Alternative String Styles

James P. Mick, Ithaca College


The purpose of this study was to investigate middle school and high school string students’ (N = 241) preferences for various alternative string styles. String styles selected for the study were those represented in published, age-appropriate method books available for heterogeneous string study and included American Folk, Bluegrass, Celtic, Jazz, and Mariachi genres. Participants listened to 10 musical examples, two from each style, and gave a preference rating for each example using a seven-point response continuum. Results indicated that the Celtic genre was the most preferred, followed by Jazz, American Folk, Mariachi, and Bluegrass genres. Celtic and Jazz examples received significantly higher ratings than American Folk, Mariachi, and Bluegrass examples. Results also indicated significant differences between the preference ratings of participants who indicated they were familiar with at least one of the examples from each style and preference ratings of participants who were unfamiliar with either of the examples. No significant differences were found in preference ratings based on participants’ grade level, primary instrument, or gender.