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St. Norbert professor a pioneer of piano teaching technology

João Paulo Casarotti is at the forefront of music education
Posted at 9:50 PM, Dec 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-05 22:50:51-05

DE PERE — While technology continues to change the way we learn, Assistant Professor of Piano João Paulo Casarotti had been preparing for the digital age for over a decade.

"During the pandemic when all of the music schools shut off I was able to help a lot of music teachers around the world," said Casarotti.

Casarotti has taught around the globe and his family noticed his passion for the piano at a young age in Brazil.

"She wrote it down in the baby book that when I was one year old she was walking me around the neighborhood and my eyes shine when I heard the piano playing by a neighbor," said Casarotti.

Fast forward to 2009 and Casarotti decided to research how new technology could be incorporated into the music classroom. The result is a system that Casarotti said is a pioneer set-up that is unique to the program.

"When you're sitting down here in the studio, students can only look at the score or only look at your hands. With this technology you can put a lot of things in one screen," said Casarotti.

Here's how it works. Casarotti has several cameras positioned around the piano that feed back to a program on the tv screen. He then uses a tablet to arrange the feeds into a collage that he can swipe through to focus on different aspects. This lets students see their positioning, movements, and the keys all at once.

The camera design will actually be improved next year as Casarotti said the plan is to expand to a new piano lab that'll be the first of its kind in the country. He says it'll include around twenty different cameras for students and teachers that'll be able to be used to help enhance the lessons.

Tom Lee is a sophomore at St. Norbert College who began learning the piano at home in South Korea when he was six years old. He says that unlike just taking notes during lessons, this helps him visualize in great detail any mistakes to correct.

"Oh I did this wrong, I didn't have a weight on my arm, I'm just using a lot of fingers. The sound is totally different using fingers and using weight," said Lee.

He says that by having so much video in addition to being able to see all of the information and angles at once, it's helped him improve quickly. He hopes that this helps him realize his ultimate goal.

"My main dream that I want to do is actually a director working with different groups of ensemble," said Lee.