Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Gary S. Karpinski

Second Advisor

Stefan Love

Third Advisor

Felipe Salles

Fourth Advisor

Lisa Sanders

Subject Categories

Music Pedagogy | Music Theory


In this dissertation, I present a method for developing tonal jazz pitch-listening skills (PLS) which is rooted in scientific experimental findings from the fields of music cognition and perception. Converging experimental evidence supports the notion that humans develop listening skills through implicit learning via immersive, statistically rich exposure to real music from a particular musical idiom, such as tonal jazz. Therefore, I recommend that to acquire tonal jazz pitch-listening skills, learners should (1) immerse themselves in the real music of that idiom, (2) remediate their listening skills, where necessary, by listening to slowed-down versions with exaggerated features, and (3) organize their listening experiences with explicit theoretical labels for particular pitch structures, if they want to communicate about those pitch structures in speech or writing. In order to aid in the practical application of this process, I offer a four-semester learning sequence for the development of tonal jazz pitch-listening skills as well as a variety of formal assessment methods.