Do you think Ai can work as a violin teacher?

September 18, 2021, 1:40 PM · I just came across this article today, and thought it was interesting. Has anyone heard of this yet?

This is a copy of the first paragraph, and the link to the whole article is below that.

"Students learning classical violin usually have to wait until a session with a music teacher to get personalized feedback on their playing. Soon they may have a new tool to use between lessons: an app that can observe them play and guide them toward better posture and form—key elements both for sounding their best and avoiding overuse injuries."

https://today.umd.edu/a-new-vision-for-violin-instruction

Replies (27)

September 18, 2021, 1:48 PM · No
September 18, 2021, 2:14 PM · Yes. I'm sure biofeedback and other technologies can become important tools in greatly speeding learning along.
September 18, 2021, 3:43 PM · In the future, probably. I feel like it's going to be a long time before Ai can even present SOME qualities that make it compelling substitute for human teaching.
Edited: September 18, 2021, 4:07 PM · Yes absolutely for things like posture. At the moment I am working on closing my eyes when I play, as well as having my head face forward rather than left towards the fingerboard in order to avoid unnecessary strain. An AI camera with a beeping noise would probably speed up my progress, but I enjoy the struggle of doing it on my own for now!
September 18, 2021, 4:10 PM · Perhaps many technical things can be done this way. However, I do not believe that a programmed machine can ever replace a human relationship. And one significant aspect of any effective teaching approach is an actual relationship between two human beings.
September 18, 2021, 4:30 PM · What if the A.I. told me to remove my shoulder rest?
September 18, 2021, 4:41 PM · Let us pray to god that our children never grow up raised by virtual humans. We're already partway there and it's not looking good... the number of kids I've seen have a tantrum because they don't have access to an iPad!
September 18, 2021, 5:32 PM · Could be worse: a Covid meme running around the UK reminded everyone who was complaining about the current government reminded everyone to look forward 25 years, when the country would be run by people home-schooled by alcoholics!
September 18, 2021, 5:51 PM · So we have the cocktail-making generation to look forward to? Not too shabby!
September 18, 2021, 6:26 PM · Adrian, NNOOOOOOO!!!
September 18, 2021, 6:26 PM · Not yet!

In addition to the programming requirements for a machine to observe and assess all the visible and audio aspects that a human teacher should it has been my observation that current consumer electronics do not have the resolution necessary to transmit the information.

I know what I could observe when I was teaching in person and I know I cannot see all those things clearly enough on TV.

September 18, 2021, 6:39 PM · Also, even if a machine can observe the student's technique, humans differ enough that I'm not confident a machine would be able to make the right recommendations for the individual student.

I'm pretty sure an AI teacher would try to tell me to grow longer fingers.

September 18, 2021, 7:28 PM · I think a virtual reality set-up for Zoom lessons would be much more useful, as playing needs to be observed in 3D (by a competent teacher).
September 19, 2021, 4:50 AM · I think it's likely AI can supplement a human teacher. It's already possible to have apps provide real-time feedback on intonation and tempo (although the ones I've tried have their limitations). I expect AI will be very good at fixing technique.

Note that AI isn't just a computer. Humans still write the code. So you need a good human teacher to design (or at least provide a lot of guidance for) the AI for it to be any good.

September 19, 2021, 7:11 AM · This idea seems as useful as a self driving car.

Are we there yet ?

No, we are not !

September 19, 2021, 1:50 PM · Wouldn't it need a web of sensors stuck all over the student's body and head?
September 19, 2021, 6:09 PM · Hopefully the Ai version would not engage in any of the vices that have ruined the erstwhile stellar reputations of some violin teachers within the last few years.
September 19, 2021, 6:13 PM · I think there’s an interesting analogy with bicycle fitting. When you’re buying a bike at a bike shop, you can have it adjusted to fit your physiognomy. Old school shops usually have experienced staff who can make adjustments by eye or with a few basic measurements coupled with rider feedback. In newer shops, there will often be a special fitting setup with software to analyze and improve rider efficiency and ergonomics. Both approaches can work very well. However, there are different schools of thought about fitting, so at a certain point it becomes impossible to say one school is best.

I see a potential usefulness for checking posture, although a teacher would still be necessary to develop musicality. However, you might run into problems at a higher level. Would AI try to “correct” Szigeti’s “telephone booth” posture or the Heifetz twist?

Edited: September 19, 2021, 6:16 PM · I imagine the app would analyze digital video recordings over a period of time, translating digital information into measurements that could be compared against some pre-determined model(s). Perhaps it could help identify changes in posture or bow placement, allowing students and their teachers to identify what is working and what was working but for some reason no longer working. If app could provide both visual input, graphics that show changes in posture or bow placement, it might be helpful in aiding students in visualizing what correct posture feels like, a sort of visual key or reference.
Edited: September 20, 2021, 9:11 AM · Adrian: no for the sensors. It's amazing how camera technology has progressed, and I don't necessarily mean the cameras themselves, but the algorithms that can compile a lot of information just from the input of two cameras, say. About Rebecca's original question: yes, this is absolutely coming our way. The theory and technology are there already. Just for any kind of well-established (meaning it's well understood and not that much evolving anymore) human activity X, (such as X = violin playing), AI, once well trained on good and bad examples, will be able to provide quite decent guidance. Good training data is key, however, otherwise the automated instructor cannot provide instructive feedback.
September 20, 2021, 9:15 PM · At this point AI is the thing that keeps displaying ads for pressure cookers on my computer AFTER I have already bought one. Need I say more?
Edited: September 21, 2021, 3:28 AM · @Albrecht
A.O. : Artificial Obstinacy?
@jean
It will need to interpret not just 3D images but also hidden pressures and tensions.

September 21, 2021, 5:22 AM · sure Adrian, but a violin teacher notices these pressures and tensions from watching and listening, not by constantly feeling the student!
Edited: September 24, 2021, 12:29 PM · jean, I hope so!
But we can tell much by holding and twisting the students bow stick (in the air) to imitate the resistance of the string while they pull & push the stick with flexible fingers

The A.I. would have to observe the extent of the whitening of the nail as the finger presses on the string, and variations in the distance from stick to hair of the bow during bow strokes.

September 21, 2021, 10:39 AM · Only when an AI is able to say things like "try it again just with more of this!" while making an incomprehensible gesture.
September 21, 2021, 10:40 AM · One could probably get a kind of Masterclass AI by feeding it masterclass transcripts, which would make as much sense as some actual masterclasses
September 21, 2021, 4:07 PM · I wonder if a model of playing could be created that would apply to all players. I would think that would be difficult to devise.

I have a book named Tennis Course, written in conjunction with the German Tennis Federation, which outlines the steps in hitting a forearm and a serve, along with photographs of each step in the process. It’s helpful to look at but nothing beats the feedback from a tennis who can look at what you’re doing while you’re doing it and give feedback and suggestions.

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