Can interactive technologies be useful for music education? This question was empirically investigated during a nine-month longitudinal study in which twelve children (1st and 2nd grade) learnt to play the clarinet. Six children (the intervention group) received instruction with the Music Paint Machine, an interactive music system that allows a musician to make a digital “painting” by playing music while making various movements on a coloured pressure mat. The other six children (control group) received the instruction without the use of technology.
The overall goal of the longitudinal study was (1) to integrate the Music Paint Machine in instrumental music instruction in order to develop good practices and (2) to investigate the effectiveness of instruction with the system on the learning process. To measure the effectiveness of instruction with the system, children were administered the Primary and Intermediate Measures of Music Audiation (Gordon, 1986) as pre- and post-test. In addition, pre-tests were organised to map possible confounding variables, such as personality, home musical environment, motor skills and self-regulation skills. Although no statisti- cally significant differences were found between the control and intervention group the study revealed important aspects about the transformative impact of technology in education. Furthermore, dealing with the complexity of a real-life educational setting and with the requirements of the quasi- experimental design, this study has provided insights on methodology (design, measures, analysis) in music educational technology research that can contribute to the further development of this branch of educational research.