Teaching Piano Lessons in Real Time via Internet

Utilizing the Internet to Provide Online Interactive Musical Learning



Dr. Fred Kersten

Research Advisers:

Dr. Keith Thompson, Dr. Mark Ballora, Mr. Robert Wilkins

The Pennsylvania State University


Objective: To explore distance learning possibilities for teaching piano lessons via Internet to students who may not be able to access a piano teacher in their locale.

Method: The Melodus v 1.4 Beta version of MIDI streaming software will be utilized to connect a piano keyboard synthesizer to the Internet through Net Meeting. Presently this research software is at the developmental stage and undergoing pilot study . This software allows simulation of a piano keyboard on the computer monitor screen allowing teacher and student to concurrently view player finger and and pedal movements. Simultaneously, a Video Conferencing camera will be employed, allowing both piano teacher and student to communicate visually/aurally as well as through "white board"(provides drawing capabilities) and "chat" ( simultaneous e-mail) communications. A connection will be set up at the Graduate Exhibition in "Real Time" and a piano lesson taught as part of the research illustration and explanation process.

Results: This presentation illustrated how piano lesson opportunities can be made available to virtually any person in the world utilizing software that allows for musical "real time communications". Video, written, iconic, and verbal communications can effectively and simultaneously be employed to communicate music instruction to persons able to connect to the Internet.

Significance to the Field and Society in General: Students in isolated parts of the world, shut-ins, and those who wish to explore interactive study of musical compositions will have a means to share "real-time" keyboard interactive experience. As MIDI files and other musical documents can be transferred via FTP/IP protocol, sharing of sheet music and musical scores is also possible.