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Digital Music Notation with Auto-Grading and Immediate Feedback

Richard Plotkin

Project Team

University at Buffalo


Tier Three

Project Abstract:

Music notation is a standardized form of communicating musical concepts, and many musical concepts cannot be communicated without notation. This project is intended to develop a proof-of-concept for, and pilot, a digital assignment workflow involving music notation. Currently, music can be written in software (or even with online tools), but must be graded manually. Additionally, existing software — targeting composers instead of educators — is unable to distinguish questions from answers. The software developed in this project will accept input in the form of music notation, distinguish student-created answers from correct answers, and automatically grade these answers without manual intervention.

Project Outcome:

Notate allows students and potential students to do music fundamentals exercises that are either instructor-assessed or self-assessed. The opportunity self-assessment provides is substantial: students can remediate necessary knowledge in music scholarship, work alone to prepare themselves for early entry into advanced courses, or supplement their current learning opportunities with extra knowledge.

Notate has a goal of increasing civic engagement by offering itself as a free tool to educators not just within the SUNY system, but also at other schools, including high schools, in New York and around the country. This leads to better-prepared students entering college, and better-educated students in high school settings.

Project Outcome Report