Andantino: Teaching Children Piano with Projected Animated Characters

Xiao Xiao, Pablo Puentes, Edith Ackermann, Hiroshi Ishii


This paper explores how multi-modal body-syntonic interactive systems may be used to teach children to play the piano beyond the typical focus on reading musical scores and "surface correctness". Our work draws from Dalcroze Eurhythmics, a method of music pedagogy aimed at instilling an understanding of music rooted in the body. We present a Dalcrozian process of piano learning as a five-step iterative cycle of: listen, internalize, extend, analyze, and improvise. As a case study of how digital technologies may support this process, we present Andantino, a set of extensions of Andante, which projects musical lines as miniature light silhouettes that appear to walk on the keyboard of a player piano. We discuss features of Andantino based on each stage, or step, of the iterative framework and discuss directions for future research, based on two preliminary studies with children between the ages of 7 and 13.

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