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IES Contract

Title: Music Education Platform for Elementary Schools Without Music Programs
Center: NCER Year: 2022
Principal Investigator: Zax, Jacob Awardee: Edify Technologies, Inc.
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (05/15/2022 – 05/14/2024) Award Amount: $1,000,000
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: 91990022C0038

Video Demonstration of the Phase I Prototype:

Purpose: In this project the team will fully develop a product to deliver music education to schools without music programs for students in Grades 3 to 5. School-based music education programs provide many benefits to students, as music is positively related to academic performance, assists in developing social skills, and provides an outlet for creativity important for a child's development. Each year millions of students in the United States have no access to music education at their school, with students from disadvantaged backgrounds more likely to attend schools that do not offer music education.

Project Activities: During Phase I in 2021, the team developed a prototype of a school-based music program delivered through an app, which includes a series of content modules that were leveledto gradually introduce students to musical skills from beginner to complex as they progress, and an implementation dashboard for educators without a formal music background. At the end of Phase I, researchers completed a pilot study with five educators and 98 students in Grades 3 to 5. The team found that the prototype functioned as intended, that students were engaged with the content in the modules, and that educators with no musical experience successfully supported students in engaging with the prototype.

In Phase II of the project, the team will fully develop the product, by strengthening the functionality of the modules and by integrating images, videos, and voiceover instruction; finalizing the educator dashboard to deliver each module and to monitor individual student and class progress; and by creating games to reinforce concepts such as identifying instrument sounds, detecting rhythms and tempos, and matching patterns. The researchers will iteratively refine the modules with feedback from educators and students at major production milestones until the product is fully functional. After development concludes, researchers will carry out a pilot study to test the feasibility and usability, fidelity of implementation, and the promise of the product to improve student learning of and attitudes toward music. Researchers will collect data from 30 Grade 3 classrooms, with half randomly assigned to use the product and the other half to participate in typical classroom activities not involving music. Researchers will compare pre-and-post scores for student music learning using an established measure adapted from the National Association for Music Education Model Cornerstone Assessments, as well as researcher developed items to understand student motivation for students' attitudes toward music, the arts, and a career in the arts. Researchers will gather cost information using the "ingredients method" and will include expenditures on things such as personnel, facilities, equipment, materials, and training.

Product: In a prior project, the company developed MusiQuest, an app-based program for individuals to learn about, create, and play music. In this project, the team is developing the version of MusiQuest for implementation as a school-based program for students in grades 3 to 5 to learn the fundamentals of music. The product will include a composition interface with 99 unique 30-minute content modules to differentiate levels of learning; games for skill-based practice that provide students feedback for concepts more difficult to master; and an implementation dashboard for educators without a formal music background. The app-based program is designed for implementation in the absence of a trained music educator and without musical instruments, although music teachers can use it in coordination with actual instruments. MusiQuest will run on all desktops, laptops, and tablets, and many smartphones.

Related IES Projects: K–5 Music Education Platform for Elementary Schools Without Music Programs (91990021C0018)