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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Technology fees are helping music majors at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville become better musicians.

 Dolly Davis, acting head of the music department, said UT-Knoxville is one of two universities chosen by Coda Music Technology to test a new music education tool known as the Vivace Personal Accompanist System.

 Vivace computer software allows students to practice musical pieces through computer synthesizers that actually follow the student — slowing down, speeding up and stretching phrases like a real orchestra accompaniment.

 The system creates a “world-class music laboratory for student rehearsals,” she said.

 Coda provided the system software to UT and the University of Michigan as part of its Lighthouse Project test program, Davis said.

 Dr. Don Pederson, music professor and coordinator of music theory and computer activities, and Mark Boling, associate professor and jazz program coordinator, head the project.

Don Hough, associate professor of trombone, said the Vivace system already has helped improve intonation, tempo and other aspects of students’ playing.

 “The students are able to rehearse much more efficiently and work with an accompanist immediately,” Hough said. “This will change the way music teachers teach their students and students practice their music.”

 The student technology fee, implemented last year at UT-Knoxville, provided $84,000 for 26 computers for the new system, Davis said. The fee, $12 per semester hour up to $100, also paid for installation and security of the units.

“This technology is a major step forward in music instruction,” Davis said. “It would not have been possible here without support of UT-Knoxville’s Information Infrastructure Office and the monetary contribution of the new UT student technology fee.”

 Contact: Dolly Davis (423-974-3241)

 Dr. Susan Mettlen (423-974-3730)