Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Music Education

Major Professor

Dr Jack Heller.


Cognition, Interpretation, Perception, Listening, Nuance


This dissertation was a continuation of study on a theory of a learning window for the perception of expressive qualities in music and speech. The proposed theory suggested that a practice window must overlap a learning window before it closes around the age of 10. This dissertation sought to determine whether children older than the proposed learning window continued to improve in speech and musical discrimination skill, or leveled off in this ability. It also examined the impact of gender and private lesson experience on discrimination ability. Instrumental music students (n = 292) attending a public magnet school for visual and performing arts in North Carolina between the ages of 11 and 18 participated in the study. Each student was administered a forty-item listening test containing 20 speech items and 20 instrumental music items. Each test item consisted of three short speech or musical phrases.