Live Online Music Lessons through Video-Conferencing

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 1.04.31 PMAt a glance, online education may seem like a foreign concept to some but, in today’s highly advanced technological world online education is quickly becoming the future of quality learning. The benefits of utilizing online education are highlighted in an article “Teaching Real-Time Music Lessons over Video Conference” by Mario Ajero. Ajero attributes the success of online music lessons to the major advancements in videoconferencing technology, which allows students to interact with their instructors regardless of their geographic locations. This opens so many doors for those seeking quality musical lessons that may not be available in their area or in the genre they are most interested in.

One major benefit of online music lessons is that most people already have access to the necessary equipment needed to participate in online lessons. Any computer or laptop with a camera and microphone can be used to facilitate an online lesson. Free applications like skype and ichat can be used to video conference with an instructor. In some cases online instructors, like Piano Edutainment, will provide their students with the best software that will allow high quality un-interrupted lessons.

Fortunately, those seeking piano lessons have access to new technology that allows piano instructors to remotely connect to their student’s piano over the internet. The software program is called Internet MIDI that can connect any two MIDI-capable keyboards over the Internet. The article gives the example of an instructor who has a Roland Digital Piano and the student who has a Korg Digital Piano can still connect through Internet MIDI. The software allows the instructor to see and hear how their student is playing and the sound produced through the keyboards in the Internet MIDI connection is very precise. Overall, online music lessons have major benefits for students by limiting costs, travel time, and providing access to diverse instructors.

Ajero, M. (2010). Teaching real-time music lessons over video-conference. American Music Teacher , 44-47.

Synchronous Learning through the Internet

Synchronous learning is now being effectively captured through the Internet. Synchronous ldreamstime_s_33571958 copyearning requires the presence of both parties at the same time for teaching and learning to take place. Immediate feedback is available for students rather than waiting in between lessons or classes. The comfort of distance learning comes from the lack of tenseness to meet appointment times in uncomfortable environments. A study conducted by N. Chena, H. Koa, T. Linb,, researched a model of synchronous learning using the internet.

Results showed an increased level of motivation in students engaged in synchronous learning through the Internet.

  • 97% of students said they were satisfied with online live instruction mode
  • 89% went in depth to say that the live instruction mode provided very good interactions amongst the teacher and student.

Nian-Shing Chen, Hsiu-Chia Ko, Kinshuk & Taiyu Lin (2005): A model for synchronous learning using the Internet, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 42:2, 181-194

The Power of Music!

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Music has been shown to enhance our ability to subconsciously process large amounts of information at an accelerated speed (Blakemore and Frith, 2000). However, one’s ability to do so depends greatly on their prior exposure to listening and playing music.  Musical experiences can further enhance processing information such as language, which consequently impacts reading skills.

Studies have been conducted to show the relation of musical exposure to children’s cognitive development. One study found, that children at the age of eight who had only 8 weeks of musical training differed from controls in their cortical event related potentials (ERPs) than children who had received no musical training (Moreno and Besson, 2006).

A similar study measured the brain activity of children from ages 4 to 6 who were given music training 25 minutes for 7 weeks. Those children who had received musical training had increased cognitive processing compared to those who did not have musical training (Flohr et al., 2000).

Musical training also helps with language development. Studies have proven that having musical skills predicts the ability to differentiate pronunciation in a second language (Slevc and Miyake, 2006) as well as improve the reading abilities of children in their first language (Anvari et al., 2002).

Further studies examined kindergarten children who received 4 months of music instruction for 30 minutes once per week. The instruction included active music making, understanding beats, rhythm, pitch as well as the association of sounds with symbols. The children who received the music instruction showed significantly greater gains in phonemic awareness when compared to the control group.

Overall, the results of the studies imply that learning and playing music plays a major role in developing improved cognitive functioning, language skills, speech, and literacy. The earlier the exposure to active music participation, and the greater the length of participation, the greater the impact on developing skills.

Read the full article here!

Anvari S.H., Trainor L.J., Woodside J. and Levy B.Z. (2002). Relations among musical skills, phonological processing, and early reading ability in preschool children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 83, 111-130.

Blakemore, S.J. & Frith, U. (2000) The implications of recent developments in neuroscience for research on teaching and learning. London: Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Flohr, J.W., Miller, D.C., deBeus, R. (2000) EEG studies with young children, Music Educators Journal, 87(2), 28-32.

Hallem, S. (2012). The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people, International Journal of, 28(3)

Moreno, S. and Besson, M. (2006) Musical training and language-related brain electrical activity in children. Psychophysiology, 43,  287-291

Does the “distance” in distance education really matter?

photo-4Many people are concerned with the “distance” in distance education. They are concerned that the distance is a barrier and a detriment to the learning process. Contrary to popular belief, studies have shown otherwise.

A study conducted by E.K. Orman and J.A. Whitaker compared an in person music lesson to that of one over video-conference.

Results of the study would show an overall advantage to the videoconference lesson over the lesson done in person.

  • 26% increase of focus in fingering during the distance lesson. Other factors, including increased eye contact and decrease in cancellations were in favor of the distance program.
  • Less than 3% of the time was spent on technological problems, a major concern for those engaging in distance learning.

Another concern is the lack of touching, pointing, and other physical interactions that come with a distance program. The study concluded that time spent engaging the student with such physical interaction was less than 1% while in person.

Read the full article here!

Orman, E. K. and Whitaker, J. A. (2010). Time usage during face-to-face and synchronous distance music lessons. American Journal of Distance Education, 24(2), 92-103.