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Digitally mediated keyboard learning: Speed of mastery, level of retention and student perspectives

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In this study, four different media were investigated regarding learning to play keyboard instruments on beginning level musical selections. Among these were Synthesia, eMedia, YouTube piano tutorials and standard Paper Notation. A sample of 564 beginning keyboard instrument students in grades 6–12 was measured on timed learning tasks to determine speed to mastery, level of retention and perspectives. Results indicated that Synthesia was more effective than the other three learning approaches at enabling students to quickly master beginning level songs and retain that information on a post-test seven days later. These data are potentially transformative in providing open access, efficient, relevant, personalized and effective music education experiences to greater numbers of students who might be marginalized.
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Keywords: free software; iconic notation; keyboard software; music education; music technology; synthesia

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Ithaca College 2: Amp Up NYC

Publication date: July 1, 2016

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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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