Ring Those Bells: An Exploration of the MSU Carillon
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All undergraduates at Montana State University are required to generate a scholarly project and participate in a research/creative experience. We participated in a collaborative project designed to introduce us (second year, pre-service music education students) to the tools we will need to successfully design, carry out, and complete research during our senior year. The seven students who were enrolled in MUSE 383, Assessment in Music Education, were introduced to a variety of research strategies in a safe, supportive environment as we engaged in a collaborative research study exploring the MSU carillon (the bells in Montana Hall). Together, we created research questions, created and administered a survey, created standardized open-ended interview questions, coded qualitative data, performed simple statistical analyses of quantitative data, created tables and graphs, and drew conclusions. Individually, each student developed a literature review, completed CITI training, made observations, conducted interviews, and transcribed interviews. Products from individual tasks were all brought back to the large group for discussion and analysis. Although the focus of the project was on the development of research skills, rather than on the generation of a specific research product, our conclusions point toward the importance of the MSU carillon to the campus community. Members of the MSU community perceive that music is a significant part of their lives and 95% of those surveyed feel the carillon should play melodies at least once a month or more. The MSU carillon enhances the campus atmosphere and we recommend utilizing it to its full potential.