Sadakata, M, Brandmeyer, A., Timmers, R. & Desain, P. (2010). Practice Space: real-time visual feedback for music education. 11th International Conference on Music Perception & Cognition, Seattle, August 2010


Despite much advance in our understanding of human music performance, musical expression is still difficult to learn. Musicians must undergo intensive training for long time in order to obtain the skill to freely control expression. It would be of great interest to music teachers and learners if this learning process could be enhanced. In the Practice Space project, we developed and evaluated five real-time visual feedback systems, each of them aims at highlighting different aspects of learning involved in musical performance: loudness and timing imitation of simple rhythmic patterns, longitudinal study on learning timing patterns, learning expressive drum patterns, learning to fluently play the piano trills, and exploration practice of the grace note timing. Comparison of evaluation of these systems revealed following findings. First, trainees could learn to use novel visual representations rather quickly in general, even in the case where the relation between visual parameters and performance parameters are not known. Thus learning is highly adaptive and can be implicit. Second, not only speeding up the learning process, but providing information of musical performance which are difficult to be picked up by the learners otherwise (e.g., subtle performance timing), can bring up trainee’s performance to a higher level that cannot be achieved without VFB. Third, qualitative evaluation confirmed that majority of participants (in all experiments) rated the system positively. These all point to the fact that VFB can be beneficial in music educations. Benefits and limitations of these systems will be discussed.

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