This position paper introduces the concept of complexity management in instrument design as a means to optimize the learning rewards cycle in an effort to maintain player motivation. Successful fluency and expertise on an instrument requires sustained practice. In the quest to enable exceptional levels of expression, instruments designed for virtuosic performance often have a high level of complexity, which can be overwhelming for a beginner, decreasing practice motivation. Here we explain complexity management, the idea of intentionally limiting instrument complexity on a temporary basis so that instrument difficulty is optimally matched to user skill and users always remain capable of focused learning and enjoy sufficient musical success to motivate continued practice. We discuss the relevance of Csikszentmihalyi's ideas about flow, along with concepts from traditional music learning, such as chunking and internalization, along with the importance of practice and enjoyment. We then propose our own concept of learning efficiency and the importance of controlling challenge. Finally, we introduce our own experiments into complexity management using the violin, an existing example of an instrument with high input complexity. We discuss the effects of simplifying intonation in order to make early musical success easier along with plans for further investigations.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of the 15th Sound and Music Computing Conference : Sonic Crossings, SMC 2018|
|Editors||Anastasia Georgaki, Areti Andreopoulou|
|Number of pages||8|
|Publisher||Sound and Music Computing Network|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
|Event||15th Sound and Music Computing Conference, SMC 2018 - Limassol, Cyprus|
Duration: 4 Jul 2018 → 7 Jul 2018
|Conference||15th Sound and Music Computing Conference, SMC 2018|
|Period||04/07/2018 → 07/07/2018|
|Series||Proceedings of the 15th Sound and Music Computing Conference: Sonic Crossings, SMC 2018|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by EPSRC under grant EP/N005112/1.
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