February 2017 MTNA e-Journal

Transitioning From Traditional To Online Piano Lessons: Perceptions Of Students, Parents And Teacher
By Diana Dumlavwalla

The purpose of this study was to track the attitudes, opinions and impressions of five pre-college students, their parents and their teacher as they engaged in 15 weeks of synchronous online piano lessons. A basic setup of a laptop or tablet device, webcam, microphone and speaker was used for all parties. The teacher was the principal investigator in this exploratory case study and engaged in action research. Students and parents were interviewed before and after the semester of 15 lessons. They completed surveys after each lesson to record their thoughts and feelings as the lessons progressed. The teacher documented her impressions through written journals and reflections throughout the duration of the study. External evaluations were also consulted and data were triangulated. The participants identified a number of benefits and disadvantages. Common themes among their responses were detected including: internal motivation is especially critical for students to succeed with this lesson format; online lessons can help foster student independence and help teachers to refine their pedagogical skills; and the lack of each person’s physical presence does create shortcomings for this learning environment. [Read More]