The effects of computerized visual reinforcement on the development and enhancement of selected trombone techniques: A case study
Mark Ewart Britt, The Florida State University, United States
The Florida State University . Awarded
The purpose of this case study was to examine the relative effectiveness of computer generated visual reinforcement in improving skills related to trombone performance. These visual representations of individual pitches or musical phrases allowed the subject to view, for example, temporal distance between subsequent pitches, amplitude peak, attack and release, and tone quality as represented by the sound envelope. Visual reinforcement, combined with auditory feedback of either the student's previous performance or a pre-recorded model, gave the subject a visual representation of the performance.
The treatise offers an extensive review of literature related to mental imagery and performance. Background information on visual and auditory perception, learning theory, knowledge of results, and modeling as they relate to musical performance is presented.
The case study was a series of sessions involving twenty high school and college level trombonists. Subjects were assigned randomly to either an experimental or control session. Prior to the session, subjects completed the shortened form of the Betts' Questionnaire Upon Mental Imagery (QMI). Five music models were pre-recorded by a professional trombonist and subjects attempted to match their performance to that of the models. Each model focused on different performance skills. Varying amounts of visual reinforcement from the computer software were given to the subjects.
Subjects in the experimental session were allowed to view the computer monitor between each attempt to match the model. Subjects were not allowed physical practice during the session, but various mental practice techniques were implemented. Subjects completed a post-study questionnaire to determine their opinion of the process.
Each trial to match the model was recorded and scored by an independent panel of music educators. Results show that improvement occured in all subjects. The largest amount of improvement occured among subjects who scored well on the QMI. High school-age subjects in both sessions had larger increases in scores than college-age subjects.
There is a need for future studies which target specific skills and subjects of similar background. Extending this type of reinforcement to other instrumentalists or vocalists would be a natural consequence of this study.
Britt, M.E. The effects of computerized visual reinforcement on the development and enhancement of selected trombone techniques: A case study. Ph.D. thesis, The Florida State University.
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