The investigation of the cognitive and social effects of early violin study on young at-risk children was one of the primary goals of the Fairview Violin Project.
Since the inception of the project in 2008, quantitative data has been collected for over 300 subjects.
This data includes pre- and post- test scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children¸ scores on various Monroe County Community Schools tests, ISTEP scores, course grades, attendance, and violin achievement scores.
One component of the research is a quantitative study designed to compare of the cognitive growth of students at Fairview with that of students at an elementary school in the same district with similar demographics.
Over the past seven years there have been a number of challenges associated with collecting “hard” data on this population, most notably the initial difficulty in communicating with families, turnover of teachers and district administration, lack of consistency from year-to-year in the school district’s policies and strategies regarding curriculum and assessment, and student mobility.
In the past two years, new research possibilities have arisen, partly in response to the aforementioned challenges and also because of the rich stories that have emerged about Fairview violin students as well as the Indiana University students who have been teaching in the project.
We have learned that quantitative data does not tell the whole story about the power of music to change lives.
As the project has unfolded, it has become evident that the outcomes of the project are much more far-reaching than originally anticipated, and that it is important to examine the effects of the Fairview Violin Project on the Indiana University students teaching in the program, the impact of the project on best practices throughout the United States, and the potential for the project to shape arts policy locally and nationally.