Influence of Recently Heard Songs on Vocal Improvisations
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Though research has been conducted on musical improvisations of children and extensively trained adults, improvisations by untrained adults remain unexplored. The current study aims to investigate the originality of improvisations by children and adults without improvisation training by measuring the lyrics and melody they borrow from recently-heard songs. The AIRS Test Battery was conducted with 11 children and 8 adults; improvisations created in Component 8 were compared to songs heard in Components 4 and 7 ("Brother John" and "I Know a Dog'~). Children ages 3 and 5 borrowed significantly more lyrics than adults, and children ages 3, 5, and 7 borrowed more melodic material than adults. However, no differences were found between age groups in the amount of original material produced. It appears that children borrow more material than adults, but may use borrowed material as a springboard for original ideas. This information could be applied to music education programs to foster more fluid, comfortable improvisation by allowing students to borrow material from familiar songs as a basis for improvisation.