Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The purposes of this study were to examine the effects of an online synchronous lesson environment on beginning piano students’ musical achievement, time spent in target behaviors across the study period, and attitude toward piano lessons. Beginning piano students (N = 19) between ages 6-9 with no prior private music instruction served as participants, receiving 30-minute weekly lessons throughout a 7-month period. Participants were grouped into one of the two lesson groups: a face-to-face traditional lesson group or distance lesson group. Pre-treatment assessments included a beginner readiness assessment and online attitudinal survey. The post-treatment musical achievement tasks (a prepared performance task, sight-reading task, aural memory, visual memory task), final interviews, and attitudinal survey were conducted after lessons concluded and comparisons were made between the lesson environments. Each lesson was videoed in order to analyze how time was spent in the different lesson environments in a beginning, middle, and ending lesson during the treatment period. A multivariate ANOVA found no significant difference due to the main effect of lesson environment on the musical achievement tasks. However, participants in the traditional group scored slightly higher than the distance group in all four achievement tasks. A three-way repeated measure ANOVA found a significant interaction effect due to the effects of Lesson Time (beginning, middle, and ending) x Behaviors (15 target behaviors) x Lesson Group (traditional and distance). This indicates that lesson time spent in some target behavior categories were disparate between the lesson groups across the beginning, middle, and ending lesson combinations, such as the categories of student performance, interactive performance, feedback instruction, transitions, and technology issues. Despite these differences in the way time was spent in the lesson, there was no effect on musical achievement. Attitudinal questionnaire items’ total scores were compared pre-lesson to post-lesson to note changes in attitude across time and between lesson groups. Traditional students remained more consistent in answer responses than distance students from pre- to post-lesson. Online students reported gaining confidence in their music reading and playing abilities after lessons. This study offers empirical evidence to support online learning in piano instruction for beginning students.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Cassidy, Jane



Included in

Music Commons