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The effect of distance learning on acquisition of piano sight-reading skills

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The purpose of this research was to compare the acquisition of sight-reading skills between two groups of beginning piano students: the control group: students studying sight-reading through traditional face-to-face instruction (n=9); and, the experimental group: students studying sight-reading through live online video instruction (n=10). Online sessions employed digital pianos, Internet MIDI software, acoustic pianos and Skype video-conferencing technology. Analysis of the data revealed significant improvement in sight-reading scores as a result of the treatment, with no significant difference between the groups (t=1.17, df 10=1.81, p=0.05). The gain scores for the online group revealed less standard deviation and a higher mean increase (55.4 per cent) than the face-to-face group (33.7 per cent). Both groups benefited from improved rhythmic security and reported an increase in persistence, enthusiasm, motivation and confidence following treatments. Additional benefits of online delivery were identified suggesting that online sight-reading instruction may be a viable substitute for face-to-face sight-reading training or as a supplement to regular lessons.

Keywords: Skype lessons;; distance learning Internet MIDI; music sight-reading piano lessons; synchronous online music instruction

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Louisiana State University 2: MacPhail Center for Music

Publication date: 2013-08-01

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  • The Journal of Music, Technology and Education (JMTE) explores the issues concerning the use of technology in music education. It examines pedagogy at all levels and across genres such as composition, musicology, performance and music production. It is the only journal specifically dedicated to the educational aspects of music technology and the technological aspects of music. Peer-reviewed, with an international editorial board, JMTE aims to draw its contributions from a broad community of educators, researchers and practitioners who are working closely with new technologies in the fields of music education and music technology education.
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