Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Music



First Advisor

Michael Worthy

Second Advisor

Colby Kullman

Third Advisor

Stacy Rodgers

Relational Format



The purpose of this study was to identify what practice strategies were presented by piano teachers in applied lessons and how their students practiced in subsequent practice sessions. Moreover, the study also attempted to identity what practice strategies and applications were associated with the students' performance improvement. Five university piano professors participated in this study. Each participant professor recruited two piano-major (BA, BM, BME) undergraduate students from his or her piano studio, with one student in the first or second year of college (as the lower-level), and the other one in the third or fourth year (as the upper-level). A total of 15 (5 professors and 10 students) participated in this study. Each student participant completed: 1.) a 30-minute practice session on a selected piece prior to the applied lesson; 2.) a 30-minute applied lesson on the selected piece with his or her piano professor; and 3.) two subsequent 30-minute practice sessions after the lesson. A pre-test was conducted after the first practice session and a post-test was conducted after the last practice session. The pre- and post-tests were evaluated by three independent judges to determine performance improvement for each student participant. In addition, the participants (teachers and students) completed a brief survey about their educational background, piano experience, practice habits, and other questions related to this study. All practice sessions and applied lessons were video recorded and analyzed by the researcher. Results suggest that how teachers taught (modeling, talk, demonstrating, communication), and how students practiced (practice strategies, error identification, error correction, concentration) had the greatest impact on students' performance improvement. However, students' sight-reading abilities, years of piano study, practice routine, and practice priority had no effect on students' performance improvement, nor did their teachers' degrees and level of experience. Piano teachers are encouraged to evaluate how practice strategies are presented in their applied lessons and how their students apply the strategies in their practicing.


Emphasis: Music Education



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