Imagine a group of children playing rhythms together.

Do they play in sync with each other? Is one of them rhythmically leading the others, and does that correspond to the social hierarchy of the group? How accurate is their individual playing compared to their joint rhythmical pulse? How do they come to a joint pulse and to what extend does direct visual and aural feedback influence the accuracy of the synchronization process?

How can digital technology provide insight in these questions?

More questions arise when the imaginary group of children is being placed in the context of music education in primary education. To what extend is technology useful for teaching concepts of rhythm and rhythmical skills in music education in primary education? What do we gain from the use of digital technology in music education in primary education in the first place? To what extend is the use of digital technology in music education for students more exiting or engaging compared to what can be accomplished without the use of digital technology?

And to what extend can technology – capable of providing insight in the complex process of 20-30 children playing rhythms together in a classroom setting – be helpful to teachers who lack confidence in music teaching?  Does the use of digital technology for music teaching in primary education ask for new methodical, didactical and pedagogical considerations and approaches?

The current Ph.D. research will try to answer a few of these questions. This website presents the proceeding of this Ph.D. research.

In the Zone: An interactive educational technology based on symmetrical entrainment

As a first step in exploring how interactive music systems can contribute to music education in primary education in the Netherlands, a new social music game In the Zone (ITZ) was developed and tested.

ITZ consists of four drum pads, positioned around a computer screen facing upwards. ITZ allows participants to drum together while in real time receiving visual feedback on the accuracy in synchronization of their joint drumming. When a certain degree of accuracy in synchronicity is established over a certain amount of drum hits, a circle is presented on a computer screen. This may challenge participants to synchronize more accurately.

ITZ was developed in 2015 as part of the master thesis musicology at Utrecht University (NL) with support from IPEM (B). The thesis (written in Dutch) can be obtained as a pdf-file (open access).

During development, the proceeding was published in a blog (written in Dutch). Further development will be published in a blog on this website (in English).

ITZ was presented at the ESCOM2017 conference on research in music cognition (July, 31st – August, 4th, Ghent). A click on the picture will open the poster on a new page).

In the years to come, ITZ will be enhanced, improved and expanded for research purposes in accordance with the current Ph.D. research.



About the researcher

Benno Spieker Ph.D. student holds a master in musicology since he graduated from Utrecht University in 2015 (cum laude), after he graduated from the bachelor music teacher in music in schools at the conservatory of ArtEZ University of the Arts in Arnhem in 2003 and worked as a music teacher at a secondary school and subsequently as a music pedagogy trainer at a teacher academy.

Currently, Benno is a music pedagogy trainer/educator at the bachelor music in education at the conservatory of ArtEZ University of the Arts in Enschede (NL), specialised in technology enhanced music education. He is also a part-time staff member of the Dutch foundation Méér muziek in de klas, promoting music in primary education.

Since 2017, Benno is working towards a Ph.D., thereby focusing on interaction technology in general music education and in music pedagogy training. Therefore he is collaborating with the research groups of Human Media Interaction at University of Twente and IPEM at Ghent University.

Benno is a board member of the Dutch association of music teachers in schools (VLS) and since 2021 the EAS national coordinator for the Netherlands .

To keep a healthy connection with the music practice, Benno is a songwriter and plays drums/percussion with Dutch soprano singer Laura Engel and her En-canto and .

ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-3210-4993

qr-code to Benno’s profile on the orchid.org website


German-Dutch Colloquium for Research in Arts Education

At the invitation of  ENO-NL, I will participate in the German-Dutch Colloquium for Research in Arts Education on 24 September in Berlin. As one of five Dutch and five German researchers, I will briefly present my research and join a discussion about  Digitalisation and arts education. ENO-NL is the partnership of Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), National Centre …

Student poster presentations of students moLab and UTwente

MoLab – short for music education laboratory – is part of the Bachelor of music (music in education) of ArtEZ University of the Arts in Enschede. In this years course, the students work on real assignments of several clients (Ableton Benelux, Méér Muziek in de Klas, Netwerk Muziekdocenten Pabo). On the 25th of May, music …


Several experiments will be executed as part of the current research. Here you will find all experiments. Some will be open for participation.

Upcoming experiment:

No experiment is scheduled yet.