Impacts of remote percussion training on motor control, perceived expressivity, and student satisfaction


Although remote music training can be perceived by instructors and students as less effective than in-person training, remote training represents a pathway toward reducing barriers to music lessons. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a remote vs. in-person percussion lesson on motor control, performance quality, and student's perceived enjoyment. Twenty percussionists were trained on the performance technique legato in one of two formats: in-person (n = 10) or remote (n = 10). Legato was chosen for its expressivity in both the visual (i.e., ancillary gestures) and aural domains (i.e., sound production). Motion capture technology quantified mallet and upper-limb movements in five pre- and five post-training performances. Audiovisual recordings were obtained and rated for quality by three experts. After training, both groups rated their interest in continuing training in their respective formats over the short and long terms. The results revealed that training impacted motor control and performance quality regardless of format. Post-training, participants elevated their mallets to a greater height above the drums, a finding driven by increased velocity variability in elbow and wrist movements. Altered kinematics corresponded with increased expert ratings of legato expressivity and performance quality following training. Critically, remote participants expressed greater interest than in-person participants in continuing training in their assigned format over the short and long terms. The findings suggested that limb velocity variability impacts perceived legato expressivity. In addition, remote training can yield comparable results to in-person training while possibly generating greater training adherence, suggesting that remote training may reduce barriers to music pedagogy.

Acknowledgments: Canada Foundation for Innovation; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada