One of the most important aspects of music performance is the expression of emotions, yet research has suggested that this skill is neglected in music education. The aim of this thesis was thus to develop and test a novel and empirically-based approach to teaching emotional expression in music performance.
Study I explored the nature of instrumental teaching in its natural context, with a focus on emotional expression. Although there were individual differences among teachers, a common feature was a lack of clear goals, specific tasks, systematic teaching patterns, and informative feedback.
Study II presented and tested a computer program that analyzes music performances and offers informative feedback, including specific suggestions on how to enhance the emotional expression. Performers were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (1) feedback from the computer program, (2) feedback from music teachers, and (3) repetition without feedback. The results indicated the greatest improvements in communication accuracy for the computer feedback group, but although the computer program was rated as easy to understand and use, performers did not want to use it in the future.
Study III explored whether the negative views towards the computer program were due to negative attitudes towards computers or a dislike of the characteristics of the actual feedback contents. Results from a deception experiment revealed that the mere belief that the feedback derived from a teacher yielded higher quality ratings, but so did also feedback that did indeed derive from a teacher. The latter feedback was perceived as more detailed.
The thesis shows that it is possible for performers to improve their abilities to express emotions through computer-assisted teaching, but suggests that the feedback may benefit from including human-like aspects such as encouragement, examples, and explanations in order to make it more attractive in the eyes of its potential users.
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2008. , 57 p.
Psychology, music performance, emotion, expression, feedback, computer-based teaching, music education