Saturday, August 20, 2011

Technology and the Music Educator

"I just invent. Then I wait until man comes around to needing what I've invented."

-R. Buckminster Fuller

Now more than ever before, music educators have the opportunity to expand the horizons of our profession.

The benefits of learning music have been widely publicized, and it seems new reports and statistics are released just about every week that prove studying music can help foster intellectual curiosity, stimulate creativity, and promote discipline. Most often, these studies are used as ammunition by organizations, teachers, and frustrated parent groups who are facing cuts to their local school band, choir, or orchestra programs.  And it's no surprise that advances in technology that allow for unprecedented communication, file sharing, and information delivery may be seen as an impending threat to those who teach music in schools or in a private setting. But we do not agree.

I recently read a blog that argued 'technology in music education can never replace the care and nurturing of a great educator'. That's like saying 'the microwave oven can never replace the delicate palette of an executive chef'.  It's an invalid argument and moot point at best. The microwave will not make anyone a great chef - but most all great chefs have one in their kitchen and know how to use it to their advantage. Technology is only as good as those plying it - it won't make a poor teacher any better.

But what technology can do is allow educators to reach new markets and encourage more learning at all levels - from the causal enthusiast to the most advanced performer. Educators can also use technology to create a sense of community among learners and allow for ideas to be shared between students, educators, and peers. Technology can also help make music teachers become better communicators and keep learning material, practice notes, and digital files neatly organized and accessible in one location.

The beauty of applying technology to music education is that we as educators have an opportunity to share our expertise with more potential music makers than ever before. And more people playing music and enjoying its benefits means a boost for instrument manufacturers, print music publishers, recording artists, concert halls and yes... teachers! We believe that more people (especially adults) becoming interested and involved in music making will undoubtedly lead to a more passionate concern for the importance of music in our schools.

Technology is here to stay. An entire generation now presumes and expects it to be part of nearly every aspect of their lives. As music educators, we need to be open to using technology to present our ideas in current and relative formats. Let's not be the last profession to 'come around'!


Foriero said...

Journey where music merges with interactive technology is the only possible. This is the option and the music to continue and develop further. Foriero working on interactive applications and Music educational games

Dr. Scott Watson said...

I enjoyed reading this post. My recent book, USING TECHNOLOGY TO UNLOCK MUSICAL CREATIVITY (Oxford Univ Press) explores ways technology can be used in creativity- and project-based music instruction to get more from traditional music students and to reach "non-traditional" music students. Hope you have the opportunity to check it out:

Christopher Sutton said...

Hear, hear! Very well said.

As in any arena, technology can be disused, misused or used to great effect in music teaching. It's an exciting time, as there's still a lot to explore and experiment with in terms of how best to harness technology to engage with students and accelerate learning.

Anonymous said...

i love that blue earth eye pic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!