Music School

Effects of Technology-Based Computer Practice on Skill Achievement in Novice Conductors

Hollinger, D., & Sullivan, J. M. (2005)


The purpose of this study was to compare technology-based practice (Radio Baton and Digital Conducting System) to self-practice (recorded music) on the skill achievement of beginning conductors. Participants (N = 33) were undergraduate music majors from two beginning conducting classes randomly assigned to either the technology-based group or the self-practice group. Subjects worked for three, 15-minute sessions on the following skills: staccato conducting, legato conducting, and steadiness of tempo. We used a pretest-posttest experimental design to measure six dependent variables: staccato conducting, staccato presence, staccato steadiness of tempo, legato conducting, legato presence, and legato steadiness of tempo. Three expert judges scored videotaped pre and posttests with interjudge reliability ranging from .77 to .84. Six analyses of covariance tests (ANCOVA) were used to analyze the aforementioned dependent variables. A significant difference resulted between treatment and control groups for only the legato conducting variable (p = .05). The researchers concluded that a longer treatment period was perhaps necessary to produce a significant difference between the groups on the other variables.


Dr. Diana Hollinger is a former doctoral student of ASU in music education, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Instrumental Music and Associate Director of Bands at San Jose State University.

Dr. Hollinger and Dr. Sullivan presented their paper on the effects of technnology-based practice on skill achievement on novice conductors at the 2005 Australian Society for Music Education National Conference, and the 2005 Texas Music Educators Association conference.

Hollinger and Sullivan