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The Future of Music Education and Technology: Current Research

Introduction There are several common themes in the literature reviewed:


Technology has transformed music as it is created, sold, and experienced by students in the real world Music education has not kept up with these changes Integrating technology into music education allows more students to access creative musical experiences, and increases motivation Music education needs to be more student-centered and technologically relevant

Real-World Music: Transformation The internet has changed the way we access music, a change which has devastated the recording industry (Gouzouasis & Bakan, 2011). Through peer to peer sharing and the domestication of the recording studio (Savage, 2007), music creators can now bypass traditional music delivery routes. Students can create, record, publish and distribute high-quality music using equipment that costs less than a new piano. The process of creating music has also been revolutionized. Apps now give students access to music creating experiences even if they have minimal musical training. For example, with GarageBand, a user with minimal music skills can create songs, riffs, compositions and other music products, mix them, publish, and readily distribute them (Gouzouasis & Bakan, 2011: 6). Savage (2007) argues that students can deal directly with the qualities of the sounds themselves, without having to know how they are notated, or without being tied to traditional instrumental sounds. Barbara Freedman, a pioneering music-tech teacher in Connecticut, states that technology allows us the opportunity to teach students with very little musical background by having them create music and compose music (Demski, 2010). Students can also learn outside of the classroom. Through online collaboration, students can learn how to play an instrument, how to use specific programs and apps, how to compose or record performances, and how to mix, master and distribute their product. Often, it is other students who are doing the teaching. This informal learning is not connected to music programs. The vast majority of adolescents no longer need music educators to acquire music skills, participate in music making activities, and create music (Gouzouasis & Bakan, 2011:10). Music Education: Intertia Music education has not kept pace with these changes. The [music education] profession has been largely unable to harness or apply the new technologies in ways that are meaningful to both the music curriculum and youth culture (Gouzouasis & Bakan, 2011: 8). Music education in the classroom is still predominantly conservative; the main uses of ICT in music education have not developed in line with

technological developments exhibited in the work of other artists (Savage, 2007: 71). Gouzouasis and Bakan found that most music education students want to teach the ways they were taught and ignore new developments (2011:7). When ICT is used in music education, it often serves to reinforce traditional models of music education (Savage, 2007; Gouzousasis & Bakan, 2011). Music teachers are also slow in adopting student-centered pedagogies. Freedman points out that the phrase sage on the stage literally applies to music teachers, many of whom use a podium when conducting bands or choirs in the classroom. In contrast, Freeman uses active learning in her music technology classes, teaching about music by making music (Demski, 2010). Gouzouass and Bakan wonder why more student-centered, collaborative, discovery-learning experiences are not central to music teaching in our schools (2011: 9). These authors and Savage both show how students knowing more about the technology than the teachers pushes teachers towards a student-centered model. One theme in teacher responses in Savages research was that technology makes music classes more interactive (2007). While all the authors reviewed are advocating integration of technology in music classes, several point out that technology has to follow, rather than lead. Freedman says, Teach music; the technology will follow (Demski, 2010); and Savage (2007) urges consideration of sound pedagogy before technology. Benefits of Music Tech Integrating technology into music education is seen by Gouzouzasis and Bakan (2011) as essential for the survival of music teaching as a profession. They argue that students will opt for informal music learning if the music classroom is out of touch with their tech-based realities. Demski (2010) focuses on the 80% of high school students across the US who dont take music courses, and sees integration of technology in music classes as having significant potential to reduce that figure. In Savages (2007) research, music teachers observed greater student motivation and students taking greater responsibility for their own learning. Music technology also provided greater access to musical composition activities for students with limited playing ability on traditional instruments, a theme echoed by Demskis observations. Demski also observed technology supporting differentiation: the tech allows lessons to be tailored to the grade or ability level of the students (2010). Ways Forward Gouzouasis and Bakan can speak for all three papers in urging the use of technology in music education: New digital technologies provide tools, networks, and creative ways of producing and recording sound that are already in use, that could, and we argue should, be integrated fully into emerging music educational practice (2011:3). They go on to advocate changes in music education pedagogy, moving to a more student-centered model, but also challenge music educators to re-evaluate the fundamental goals of music education and set new goals for music education: preparing a larger proportion of students for a lifetime of musical

amateurism, rather than a select few for a profession. They suggest that music teachers should accept and nurture all musical activity, including apps-based and informal learning. Directly linked to this is a call to do away with the distinction between formally trained and informally trained musicians, and to stop focusing only on classical music, but rather broaden definitions of good music to be used in classrooms. Demski (2010) offers some online resources, and holds up the models of several exemplary teachers as encouragement for music teachers to begin exploring using technology in music classes. Savage challenges the conservative nature of music teachers, and of the music assessment authority in Britain. He calls on music teachers to adopt student-centered pedagogies. Finally, he suggests that music technology can change the very nature of music itself. He echoes Gouzouasis and Bakan when he declares, Music teachers have to develop a clear understanding of what constitutes effective music teaching with ICT. If educators fail to grasp this major cultural shift, music as a curriculum subject will become increasingly alienated from young peoples lives and they will find their music education elsewhere. (2007: 75) Sources: Gouzouasis, P. & Bakan, D. (2011). The future of music making and music education in a transformative digital world. UNESCO Observatory. 2(2). 1-21. Available from http://web.education.unimelb.edu.au/UNESCO/pdfs/ejournals/012_GOUZOUASIS.pdf Demski, J. (2010). How Music Teachers Got Their Groove Back: Music Instruction Goes Digital. Available from http://thejournal.com/articles/2010/10/01/how-music-teachers-got-their-groove-back-musicinstruction-goes-digital.aspx Savage, J. (2007), Reconstructing music education through ICT. Research in Education, 78, 65-77. Available from http://74.220.219.62/~ucantv/jsavageorg/wpcontent/uploads/2011/03/restructure_DRAFT.pdf