Various traditional, sight before sound-based piano methods have been widely accepted and used in the United States. The intent of this study was to determine if piano instructors combine sight before sound-based beginning piano methods with selected applications from sound before sight approaches.
Piano instructors in south-eastern Wisconsin were invited to complete an online, anonymous survey. Fifty-eight surveys were completed in their entirety and analyzed for this study. In section one of the survey, teachers were asked to provide the following demographic information: educational background, certification status, and professional development practices. Section two of the survey consisted of questions pertaining to the teacher’s use of various sound before sight methodologies. The questions in section two were forced choice in which the participant could answer with one of four responses (Likert scale), including “Always, Almost Always, Rarely, and Never.” Teachers were also asked to check any of the following statements that described them: “I do not know how to effectively use this methodology in my teaching; I know how to effectively use this methodology in my teaching; I desire to learn how to effectively use this methodology in my teaching; I have no desire to learn how to effectively use this methodology in my teaching; I do not know what this methodology is; and/or one or more of my piano teachers used this methodology with me.”
Findings suggest that the majority of respondents using traditional, sight before sound-based piano methods with their beginning piano students do not combine them with sound before sight methodologies. Eighty-nine percent of the subjects indicated that they use sight before sound-based piano methods with their beginning piano students. Of these eighty-nine percent using sight before sound-based methods, over three-fourths indicated that they “Rarely” or “Never” use the various sound before sight methodologies referred to in section two of the survey. Approximately one-tenth of those regularly incorporating sound before sight methodologies do not believe they are doing so effectively, and seven percent of those not incorporating sound before sight methodologies voluntarily selected that they have no desire to learn how to do so. Even though seventy-six percent of those responding do not use sound before sight methodologies, the majority of respondents frequently attends workshops and read journal articles pertaining to teaching music. The results of this study suggest the need for educating private piano lesson instructors in how to effectively incorporate sound before sight methodologies.