Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The effects of computer -assisted keyboard technology and MIDI accompaniments on group piano students' performance accuracy and attitudes
by Ajero, Mario, Ph.D., The University of Oklahoma, 2007, 179; 3284124
Abstract (Summary)

This study investigated the effects of musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) accompaniment and computer-assisted instruction (CAI) technology on group piano students' performance accuracy and attitudes. Subjects ( N = 29) in this quasi-experimental design were non-keyboard music major college students in four intact third semester piano classes. Two of the classes were assigned to a group that practiced with the Guide Mode on Yamaha Clavinova keyboards and MIDI accompaniment, while the other two classes were assigned to a group that practiced without the Guide Mode but with MIDI accompaniment.

Subjects' performances of two piano compositions were first recorded as pretests. Afterwards each class practiced the same two compositions with their respective treatment for two weeks in class. Subjects then recorded the two compositions as posttests. Three judges evaluated the pretest and posttest recordings for accuracy in pitch and rhythm. A Likert-type questionnaire investigated subjects' attitudes toward practicing with the Guide Mode and MIDI accompaniment.

The researcher compared the posttest scores to the pretest scores within subjects for significant differences in performance accuracy due to the treatment. Differences in pretest and posttest scores were also compared between the Guide Mode group and the MIDI-only group. Four outliers were identified as possibly skewing the data. When the outliers were removed, the group that practiced with the Guide Mode (n = 19) demonstrated significantly better improvement in total pitch errors in comparison to the control group (n = 10), p < .05. No significant difference in rhythmic errors emerged between groups. Within groups, participants made significant improvement in overall accuracy from pretests to posttests.

Perceptions of MIDI accompaniments and the Guide Mode's effectiveness in helping students improve performance accuracy were generally positive. In open-ended responses, a majority of the participants from the Guide Mode group expressed that practicing with the Guide Mode was the most helpful part of the practice sessions. Students also reported that they made greater improvement when they practiced hands separately. Some subjects also stated that the use of MIDI accompaniments helped keep their rhythm steady. Other subjects believed that the use of technology had no effect on their performance.

Recommendations from the results include using CAI such as the Guide Mode to help group piano students improve in pitch accuracy during the early stages of learning new repertoire. After students feel comfortable with the pitches, practicing with MIDI accompaniments but without the Guide Mode may assist in the development of rhythmic continuity. However, teachers should not assume that the technology is an automatic way of improving piano performance. More time to practice with the technology outside of the classroom setting may be needed to observe any longer term effects on students' performance.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Barry, Nancy, Fast, Barbara
Commitee: Barrett, Roland, Gui, Ming Chao, Magrath, Jane
School: The University of Oklahoma
Department: School of Music
School Location: United States -- Oklahoma
Source: DAI-A 68/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music, Music education, Computer science
Keywords: CAI, Computer-assisted keyboard technology, Group piano, MIDI, Performance accuracy, Piano, Technology
Publication Number: 3284124
ISBN: 9780549293996
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