The aim of this investigation was to investigate the effects of computer-based visual feedback in the teaching of singing. Pitch accuracy, a readily-measured parameter of the singing voice, was used in this study to gauge changes in singing for groups with and without visual feedback. The study investigated whether the style of feedback affects the amount of learning achieved, and whether the provision of concurrent visual feedback hampers the simultaneous performance of the singing task.
The investigation used a baseline–intervention–post-test between-groups design. Participants of all skill levels were randomly assigned to a control group or one of two experimental groups – with all participants given one hour of singing training. At intervention, the two experimental groups were offered one of two different displays of real-time visual feedback on their vocal pitch accuracy, while control participants had a non-interactive display. All sessions were recorded, and the vocal exercise patterns performed at baseline, intervention and post-test phases were acoustically analysed for pitch accuracy. Questionnaires assessed both general health and the amount of singing and music training of all participants; people in the two experimental groups were also given a further questionnaire about the visual feedback.
The results indicate that visual feedback improves pitch accuracy in singing. Cognitive load related to the decoding of visual information was a factor at intervention. At post-test, the two groups who had used real-time visual feedback demonstrated marked improvement on their initial pitch accuracy. There was no significant difference between the results of participants from the two experimental groups, although the participants with some background in singing training showed greater improvement using a simpler visual feedback design.
The findings suggest that a hybrid approach integrating standard singing teaching practices with real-time visual feedback of aspects of the singing voice may improve learning.