Angela YarnellMEMT 898DaughertyOctober 1, 2009Research Analysis 1Duke, R. (2009). It's not how much; it’s how - characteristics of practice behavior and retentionof performance skills.
Journal of Research in Music Education,
Vol. 56 (4), p. 310-321.Purpose of the study: The purpose of this study was to discover if practice quality and strategiesemployed by advanced pianists could predict the quality of their performances of a challengingexcerpt 24 hours later. Researchers also describe the practice strategies of the top performers inthe sample.Research questions posed:
What are the practice behaviors of advanced pianists who learn new material efficiently?
Is the total amount of practice time, number of total practice trials, or number of completepractice trials predictive of performance success?Primary methodology of this study: qualitativeFor qualitative studies, list the specific qualitative approaches used: grounded theoryMethodology Summary:Advanced pianists at a university’s school of music were asked to practice a 3-measure excerptfor as little or as long as necessary prior to a performance of the excerpt at a prescribed tempothe next day. Participants were videotaped during the practice and performance sessions. MIDIdata from the keyboard on which they played was collected for analysis.Video recordings were viewed to collect the following numerical data: total practice time,number of performance trials, number of complete performance trials, number of correctperformance trials, number of near-correct performance trials, the sum of correct and near-correct performance trials, number of incorrect performance trials, the percentage of completetrials that were correct, the percentage of complete trials that were correct and near-correct, andthe percentage of all trials that were correct.Videos were viewed again and detailed accounts of practice behaviors were notated.Using the audio recording only, performances were put in rank order based on tone, character,and expressiveness. The top three pianists on 15 trials were identified and their practice videoswere then analyzed first. The behaviors of these top three performers were clearly different fromthe 14 lower-ranked performers. The strategies used by the performers were listed by apparenteffectiveness.Conclusions:For these performers under these conditions, practice strategies employed were moredeterminative of success in performance than the total time or number of performance trials. Thebest performing pianists took no less time to learn the excerpt. The top performers went aboutlearning the passage in a different way than the lower-ranked pianists. The high-ranked