School of Science and Technology 科技學院
Computing Programmes 電腦學系

Piano Assistant for Beginner

Kwok Chun Hei Alvin

  
ProgrammeBachelor of Science with Honours in Computing
SupervisorDr. Vanessa Ng
AreasMobile Learning of Musical Instruments
Year of Completion2015

Objectives

The aim of the project is to develop a mobile E-learning application for beginners to learn basic knowledge and assist them to do piano practicing. The focus of this application is on helping beginners who are weak on the basic music theory of piano. Beginners are hard to handle music theory which looks like easy, such as music notes, beats and so on. So, there are some learning materials for the beginners of music, let them be easy to start learning music. The project has defined following objective:

Designing learning materials for beginners to learn basic music theory.

  • Develop basic music theory exercises for learners to review.
  • Develop a piano keyboard for learners to practice piano.
  • Develop a piano game for learners to practice and for fun.
  • Develop a piano exercise for learners to do sight-reading.
  • Develop an automatic note generator for learners to do sight-reading.
  • Develop a composer’s tool for the users to add notes on it, and create their music sheet.
  • Develop a listening exercise for learners to practice.

Background and Methodology

Learning a language, the learner need to practice on reading, writing, speaking and listening. Learning Piano just like learning a language, the learner need to practice on reading music sheet, writing the music sheet, playing piano and listening to music. Therefore, this application is around these four points to improve beginner’s skills. The application will have the following components:

The following activity diagram is describing the flow of using Easy to Learn Piano:

First of all, users need to take music lessons if they don’t have any musical knowledge. If users have basic knowledge of music theory, they can try to do exercise. After finishing learning material, users can do exercises to review what they have learned in the learning material. If users get a decent result in the exercises, they can start a new lesson to learn new music theory. Otherwise, users are required to study the lesson again. After users take all lessons and do all exercises, they can practice keyboard, create music sheet by composer tool or do the listening exercises.

“Easy to Learn Piano” is an application which runs on tablet PC of IOS (iPad). The following is the start page of the application:

Users can take music lessons or do music exercises in this section. There are four music lessons, four multiple-choice exercises and two gap-fill exercises. The following is the menu page of “Learning Materials” :

Furthermore, there are some chapters can let users tap on the blackboard and play sound, helping them to remember the contents easily.

Each exercise is corresponding to one lesson, for example, the question of “MC exercise 1” is about “Lesson 1”. Users may do “MC exercise 1” after they finish the “Lesson 1”. All questions and answers are fixed, but the positions of the answers are random. That means the users may not remember the marks of answers. They need to remember the answers. Users need to tap an answer box to answer the question.

There is a great stave on the blackboard. Each question is provided a note on the stave and the position of the note is random. Users need to fill in a correct musical alphabet in the bank, which is under the note. Users need to choose the alphabet, which are under the blackboard and tap it to fill in the blank. After the users filled in all of the blank, they need to press “Submit” button to submit the answers.

This feature provides a music sheet to show the notes, which is used for users to follow the note to play a music. This practice can let users improve the sight-reading skill of the music sheet.

This feature provides a keyboard for users to practice at will. The following is the capture of the Classic view. Users can change the range of pitch of the keyboard by the mini-keyboard at the mid of the screen

This feature provided users to create some simple music sheet. It is limited in one note at the same time and the note must between the stave. Also, the maximum notes number is 100.

This is a piano game, for users to have fun and practice pressing the keys. The game is about a number of boxes which drop from the top of the screen one by one. Those boxes will be dropped onto the keys. Users need to press the corresponding key when the boxes are on the blue line. If users can follow the boxes and press the correct key, he could play a full music. Although users can’t learn how to play the music at real, they can know that feeling and give confidence for them to learn piano.

Evaluation

This chapter analysis users experience about using this application to learn piano. The evaluation was performed for investigating the effectiveness and ease of use of each feature. For evaluation project aim, questionnaires are designed to opinions and evaluate the functions in this application. 20 people are involved. Their age ranges from 18 to 25, all of them are university students. People must not learn piano before. The survey by questionnaire of this evaluation was on a Likert scale. The five-level Likert item is strongly disagree, disagree, neither, agree and strongly agree. Also, questionnaires collect data is about their suggestion after using the application.

Conclusion and Future Development

In this project, I designed and implemented an application for assisting beginners to learn piano. There are four main parts of the application. “Learning Materials” include an e-book system of basic music theory and music exercises. “Keyboard Practicing” provide piano game and piano practicing. “Composer” provide tools for users to create music sheet. “Listening Game” provide listening game for users to discern different tones.

“Learning Materials” can help the user to learn basic music theory, such as knowledge of notes, beat and so on. “Keyboard Practicing” can improve the skills of reading music sheet and playing on the keyboard. “Composer” can let users practice in the use of note and train their creativity. “Listening Game” can help learners to feel the sound and rhythm. Also, it can train learners to discern different tones.

Copyright Kwok Chun Hei Alvin and Vanessa Ng 2015

Jonathan Chiu
Marketing Director
3DP Technology Limited

Jonathan handles all external affairs include business development, patents write up and public relations. He is frequently interviewed by media and is considered a pioneer in 3D printing products.

Krutz Cheuk
Biomedical Engineer
Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital

After graduating from OUHK, Krutz obtained an M.Sc. in Engineering Management from CityU. He is now completing his second master degree, M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering, at CUHK. Krutz has a wide range of working experience. He has been with Siemens, VTech, and PCCW.

Hugo Leung
Software and Hardware Engineer
Innovation Team Company Limited

Hugo Leung Wai-yin, who graduated from his four-year programme in 2015, won the Best Paper Award for his ‘intelligent pill-dispenser’ design at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering’s International Conference on Consumer Electronics – China 2015.

The pill-dispenser alerts patients via sound and LED flashes to pre-set dosage and time intervals. Unlike units currently on the market, Hugo’s design connects to any mobile phone globally. In explaining how it works, he said: ‘There are three layers in the portable pillbox. The lowest level is a controller with various devices which can be connected to mobile phones in remote locations. Patients are alerted by a sound alarm and flashes. Should they fail to follow their prescribed regime, data can be sent via SMS to relatives and friends for follow up.’ The pill-dispenser has four medicine slots, plus a back-up with a LED alert, topped by a 500ml water bottle. It took Hugo three months of research and coding to complete his design, but he feels it was worth all his time and effort.

Hugo’s public examination results were disappointing and he was at a loss about his future before enrolling at the OUHK, which he now realizes was a major turning point in his life. He is grateful for the OUHK’s learning environment, its industry links and the positive guidance and encouragement from his teachers. The University is now exploring the commercial potential of his design with a pharmaceutical company. He hopes that this will benefit the elderly and chronically ill, as well as the society at large.

Soon after completing his studies, Hugo joined an automation technology company as an assistant engineer. He is responsible for the design and development of automation devices. The target is to minimize human labor and increase the quality of products. He is developing products which are used in various sections, including healthcare, manufacturing and consumer electronics.

Course CodeTitleCredits
 COMP S321FAdvanced Database and Data Warehousing5
 COMP S333FAdvanced Programming and AI Algorithms5
 COMP S351FSoftware Project Management5
 COMP S362FConcurrent and Network Programming5
 COMP S363FDistributed Systems and Parallel Computing5
 COMP S382FData Mining and Analytics5
 COMP S390FCreative Programming for Games5
 COMP S492FMachine Learning5
 ELEC S305FComputer Networking5
 ELEC S348FIOT Security5
 ELEC S371FDigital Forensics5
 ELEC S431FBlockchain Technologies5
 ELEC S425FComputer and Network Security5
 Course CodeTitleCredits
 ELEC S201FBasic Electronics5
 IT S290FHuman Computer Interaction & User Experience Design5
 STAT S251FStatistical Data Analysis5
 Course CodeTitleCredits
 COMPS333FAdvanced Programming and AI Algorithms5
 COMPS362FConcurrent and Network Programming5
 COMPS363FDistributed Systems and Parallel Computing5
 COMPS380FWeb Applications: Design and Development5
 COMPS381FServer-side Technologies and Cloud Computing5
 COMPS382FData Mining and Analytics5
 COMPS390FCreative Programming for Games5
 COMPS413FApplication Design and Development for Mobile Devices5
 COMPS492FMachine Learning5
 ELECS305FComputer Networking5
 ELECS363FAdvanced Computer Design5
 ELECS425FComputer and Network Security5