Sight-reading skills in individual and group settings: An eye-tracking study

Photo: Maria Timoshenko

The primary goal is to investigate singers’ sight-reading strategies and outline the possibilities to transfer experts’ sight-reading strategies to novices.

Purpose of the Dissertation Work

The main aim is to advance knowledge regarding the development of sight-reading skills in music. On one hand, a variety of experimental settings will help to outline singers’ perceptual processing of music notation and highlight the effects of musical structure on expert singers’ performance. On the other, the project will explore possibilities for a new training method, based on eye-tracking technology. Finally, the project will also explore singers’ sight-reading strategies in a group setting.


The eye-tracking method will be used for collecting highly precise data on participants’ oculomotor behaviours. A mixed-methods approach will be used, involving both quantitative and qualitative data regarding both the visual processes and the performance outcomes. For data analysis, the study will employ eye-tracking software and statistical programs.

Expected results

The research will contribute to further knowledge of visual processing of music notation. The results will shed light on the usability of a new methodological approach and underline the possibility of using eye-movement modelling examples to support learning to read musical notation.

About the Doctoral Student

Maria Timoshenko worked as a teacher at the Faculty of Education and Welfare Studies at the Åbo Academi University in Vaasa. She is a choral conductor with a master’s degree from the Saratov State Conservatory (Russia). Timoshenko has been working as an educator and coach at various Finnish music institutions. With her choirs, she has conducted hundreds of concerts in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Italy, France, Germany, Ireland and the United States.

She has been awarded diplomas and certificates, such as Golden Diploma and Conductor's Prize at a competition in Croatia in 2017 with the student choir Pedavoces. In 2016, Timoshenko was awarded a gold medal together with the Vocalensemblen Röster at Tampereen Sävel choral competition. The University Foundation in Ostrobothnia rewarded her and the student choir Pedavoces with Ann-Mari Finnilä Prize 2017.

Since September 2019 Maria Timoshenko is a doctoral student at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.

Photo: Maria Timoshenko