• 31 backers
  • $1,522 of $1,370
111% tilted!

Pacific University

Verified 501(c)(3) Non-Profit


Project Description:

The efforts of elementary music teachers specializing in bowed string instruments--

the violin, viola, cello, and bass--to provide their beginning students with the best

education is often hampered by the dearth of experimental data on the effectiveness of

various pedagogical approaches. Practicing music teachers confront the daily challenge of

identifying the strongest theoretical approach for their students, but research on this topic

is surprisingly limited (Mishra, 2000). Below proposed study aims to move towards closing

the gap between practice and theory to achieve quality music instruction in our schools.  

Two of the most influential string pedagogues, Shinichi Suzuki and Paul Rolland,

suggest strategies for teaching beginning string students that differ substantially.  The third

approach called “Traditional Approach” provides yet another view on teaching beginning steps

that are so critical to the later success of young string students. The purpose of this study will be

to investigate which of the three approaches could yield the most beneficial results for young

students when teaching beginning bow hold and instrument hand-shape.

Principal investigators in this study will include two undergraduate music education

students in training to become string teachers.  Study will be conducted at Pacific University

under the guidance and close supervision of the university’s music education professor.

Participants will consist of 15-20 school age students (2nd-5th grade) enrolled in university’s out-

reach program called the String Project.

IRB approval for this study will be obtained in the spring of 2015. The study will be

conducted in the fall of 2015 over the period of 12 weeks. After parents/guardians of 2nd-5th

grade students sign the permission forms for their children to participate in this study

participants will randomly be divided into one of the three groups: (A) Suzuki Approach Group,

(B) Rolland Approach Group and (C) Traditional Approach Group. Under the supervision of a

faculty supervisor, primary investigators will teach participants beginning exercises for bow hold

and exercises for instrument-hand shape, using the approaches randomly assigned to them. At

the end of the 6th week each participant will be video taped while performing one beginning level

bow hold exercise, and at the end of the 12th week each participant will be video taped while

playing one beginning instrument-hand exercise. Two independent observers recruited from the

poll of private string teachers in the area will review each video recording. Observers will rate

participants’ bow hold and instrument-hand shape on operationally defined criteria. Primary

investigators will summarize the reports received from observers and with the guidance of

supervising faculty will write research papers of publishable quality.

It is anticipated that conducting this study will have an immense positive impact on two

undergraduate students as they will gain insights into concerns and challenges that teaching

beginning strings involves; they will have an opportunity to experience research methods first-

hand and publish and present their research. Additionally, these students will have the valuable

opportunity to contribute critical research on pedagogical approaches to the music education





Dr. Ihas is an Assistant Professor of Music Education at Pacific University in Forest

Grove, OR, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education, serves

as an applied viola instructor and supervises student-teachers. She is a Founding Director and

Master Teacher of the String

Her research interests revolve around instructional strategies, learning and

development, and music teacher education. Just recently, she has been accepted as a 3–year

participant in Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning Research Seminar on Excellence

in Mentoring Undergraduate Research.

While in Bosnia, Dr. Ihas was mainly a performer and was for eleven years employed as

a viola player in Sarajevo’s four professional orchestras. She was also the viola player of the

Sarajevo String Quartet - a professional group who, for its unprecedented efforts in preservation

of human dignity during the Bosnian War, captured the close international attention and

received the most prestigious honors by Bosnian government.

Dr. Ihas’ educational background includes PhD in Music Education from the University of

Oregon, Masters Degree of Music Education from the University of Arizona, Masters of Fine

Arts in Viola Performance from the University of California in Irvine, and Bachelors Degree in

Viola Performance from the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Ms. Gavrilovich was born in Ukraine, and moved to the U.S. when she was four. She

began playing the violin when she was in third grade and, as her playing became better and

better due to the teaching several amazing teachers she had, she began developing interest in

becoming orchestra teacher.

Currently, Anastasiya is in her second year of pursuing a degree in music education and

performance at Pacific University (PU), Forest Grove, Oregon. In fall of 2014 she started

teaching string instruments to 2nd-5th grade students in PU’s outreach program called the String

Project. Thus far, teaching beginning students has been the highlight of her undergraduate


Ms. Gavrilovich is hoping to be able to participate in an experimental research that her

music education professor is proposing as she believes that such experience could have great

positive impact on her way of thinking and dealing with challenging situations that she is

anticipating to face in real orchestra classrooms.


Mr. Goldman is an Oregon resident who evolved as a violin player in Salem, Oregon

through the public schools music program. During his time in Salem, he was an active member

of the Sprague High School Camerata Orchestra and with them, he has performed in Anaheim

and Seattle, as well as toured to London and Paris. He is also the former concertmaster of the

Salem Pops Orchestra.

Now, as he pursues his degree in music education at Pacific University in Forest Grove,

OR, he enjoys being a teacher in training for Pacific University String Project. In the future, Mr.

Goldman wishes to return to Salem as an accomplished orchestra teacher and continue the

great legacy of Salem public school music programs.

Participating in an experimental research that his music education professor is

proposing, in Tyler’s mind, would be the great way to learn research skills and methods that he

will be able to use in his senior project and later in his graduate school.


Expected project outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this research projects papers will be submitted to the

following research journals (Spring 2016):

Journal of Research in Strings (JRS)

Journal of Research in Music Education (JRME)

American String Teacher (AST)

Students will have an opportunity to present their findings at one or more of the following

state, regional and national conferences:

Oregon Music Education Association conference (January 2016)

Northwest Regional Conference for Music Teachers (February 2016)

American String Teachers Association conference (March 2016)

Music Educators Research conference (April 2016)

For both students participation in this project will be an introduction their senior projects (Spring



Products available to donors?

Following products of this project will be available to donors:

  •  Research manuscript (hard copy and electronic form)
  • Journal issue with this project printed in it (hard copy)
  • Image of the research poster posted on ePoster



 Student stipends:

o $500.00 for each student for total of $1,000 for both students.

 Explanation: Students will be actively involved in this project for at least

45 hours. That will be:

  •  24 hours of teaching (12 weeks, two hours each week)
  •  10 hours of researching the literature
  •  10 hours of writing papers
  • Student Housing: N/A

Student Travel to conferences:

o This will be paid by Pacific University


o $150 independent observers stipends (two private teachers from the area

spending three hours (each) on viewing video recordings)

o $20,00 Starbucks gift cards for independent observers when they come for

training session

o $200 stipend for help with statistical analysis

o TOTAL amount to raise on CREU: $1,370.00

o Matching funds (amount and source):

o Faculty time and work with students: $ 3,000 in faculty salary for about 50 hours of

o Space: $200

o Equipment: $200

o Students travel to conferences: $ 3,000

o TOTAL in matching funds from Pacific University: $6,400.00

work on this project


CREU recomends this proposal at the  Highly Recommended level

Reviewers Comments:

"I like the idea of supporting a music/education project. The project is simple, but doable. Appreciate the fact that they have thought about IRB approval."

  A Tilt Pro Site   Tiltcircle   Powered by Tilt