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Technical exercise practice: Can piano students be motivated through gamification?

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Gamification is a process whereby game design and game mechanics are applied in non-game contexts to influence behaviour. This research study explores the effects of gamification on young piano students’ practice of technical elements such as scales, chords and arpeggios in the context of independent practice between private lessons. A control and a treatment group of ten piano students each were formed across two different private piano studios. A game-like environment was introduced for the treatment group, in which the players experienced game elements such as avatars and rewards, including points, badges and level achievements. Gamification was found to have a positive effect on the number of technical elements students mastered and a modest effect on their attitude towards practicing technical elements. The educational implications for these findings are discussed.
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Keywords: gamification; music education; piano; technique private music lessons

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Toronto

Publication date: May 1, 2017

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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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