Grieg Research School in Interdisciplinary Music Studies

Project title: Music reading skills of young piano students

Project period: September 25, 2012 – September 24, 2015

Main supervisor: Per Dahl



The project: The project aims to compare methods of teaching music reading to the beginners with text reading teaching methods used in primary schools in the light of efficiency and understanding. Most children can learn to read fluently, while music reading is often much more problematic for many students in music schools. Could one of the reasons be major differences in the approach to teaching? The hypothesis to be verified was formulated as follows: a method for teaching reading and writing at school (in terms of, among others, putting emphasis on understanding) and used for teaching music reading at beginner level can provide significant increases in skill level (sight-reading). In the experimental part of the project, a group of piano pupils will be taught using a newly developed method based on a literacy methodology used in primary schools and adapted for piano lessons at the beginner level (for a period of 30 weeks). The process of acquiring knowledge about music reading will be followed by conversations with the participants, music reading tests and recording of eye movements in 8-year-olds who play prima vista. Activities used by teachers at the lessons and students’ work at home will also be taken into account. The results will be compared with a control group receiving instruction using conventional methods. Quantitative research method will be used to look for correlations between different elements of the curriculum, understanding of the sheet music and sight-reading skills.


Julia Katarzyna Leikvoll is a Ph. D candidate at the Stavanger University, Institute for Music and Dance. She has master degree in Music Performance (piano) from the Grieg Academy in Bergen and master degree in Music Eduaction from Bergen University College. She has worked as a piano teacher at several music schools, as accompanist and chamber musician, and as a teacher in piano didactics at Stavanger University and the Grieg Academy. She has also published a work book for beginner piano students and several articles on music reading.