Music Teaching and Technology

This is the first post in a four-part series on how technology is changing music education. Check back over the weekend to read more, or subscribe to new posts by email!
  1. Music Teaching and Technology
  2. Pianos, Keyboards, and Disklaviers
  3. The “Gamification” of Education
  4. Technology: MTNA Into the Future
iPad Piano
Seen in a Best Buy store

To me, it seems like the technology revolution has arrived. In my local teachers group, even older teachers (OK…the same age as me) are creatively using their iPads for teaching in ways that would have been astonishing even two years ago.

I started to write this blog post on February 7, after just finishing serving as moderator for a discussion group at the online MusicEd Connect Conference. We were scheduled to discuss “Memorization”, the topic of my workshop a couple of days earlier. We did talk about it–for about 2 minutes. Then followed a lengthy and lively discussion about distance learning, camera set-ups and favorite apps. I learned a lot.

For the teachers in my MusicEd Connect group, as in my local Music Teachers Association, technology has transformed teaching. But has it for everyone? “People assume technology is a done deal in music teaching,” Mike Bates told me in an interview. Mike is the retired head of Institutional Sales for the Yamaha Corporation, now working as an independent consultant. “Music teachers’ attitudes still need to change. Technology is the way children learn these days. Even little kids can intuitively use devices.”

Many have concerns about this. Do children spend too much time staring at a computer, and not enough time playing outdoors? Maybe…but since the average eight–ten year old child spends eight hours a day in front of a computer screen 1, perhaps more important questions for teachers to ask themselves are: what activities take place when students use technology? and what is the educational outcome?

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center did a survey about children’s use of computers. They found that kids from aged two–ten spent less than half of their screen time on “educational” material. What if we took part of their computer time and used it for music learning…would more people play an instrument? Would they reach a higher level of accomplishment? Early research seems to answer “yes”.

I believe that technology and social media have the potential to revolutionize music teaching and expand opportunities for music study to more students than ever before. Educational technology, used by qualified teachers, can make the learning experience more fun and ultimately more successful.

Check back tomorrow (or subscribe to get new posts by email!) for Part 2 of the series: my thoughts on the changing roles of acoustic pianos and electric keyboards
  1. Music Teaching and Technology
  2. Pianos, Keyboards, and Disklaviers
  3. The “Gamification” of Education
  4. Technology: MTNA Into the Future
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  • Deborah Fleming

    I own a Clavinova, cvp 305. Students use the many function buttons during the lesson and our favorites are the drum and orchestral rhythm accompaniment. Also, the recording song bank is used frequently for student to hear their mistakes and correct them. Also, I encourage students to use YouTube, music apps and links to assist with their theory or piano performance. We need to embrace technology and incorporate in the piano lesson as much as possible.

  • Sally Eppert-Piano

    I use technology everyday with the students and to prepare my lessons. One of my best “new” technology is the phone. When a student comes in a rhythm learned incorrectly, we correct it in the lesson, then I record it on their phone in their “camera app.” That way they can listen to it and play along with the correct version each day.
    We also use YouTube and the computer and many iPad apps. So much fun!

  • Paula Manwaring

    I am a better teacher due to technology! I never thought I would say that, but it’s true.

    First, other than monthly MTA meetings and trips to music conferences, I felt alone and spent a lot of time working through everyday student & studio challenges. Now, thanks to Blogs like this one, Facebook Groups, Music Webinars, and Websites, I feel a sense of pride as I now know that I belong to a group of independant, kind, and intelligent people that work hard each day to make this a better world and change lifes for good. We are a unique society in that we learn the most from one another and we don’t hesitate to share both our successes and failures so that others might learn from our experience.

    Second, I now accurately keep track of all my studio business from a small tablet, and not binders filled with paper. I can engage my students to a world of music through the Internet sitting right on the piano bench! I can strengthen theory concepts with less stress through fun theory apps which are much more affordable than my previous computer programs. I can communicate quickly with parents and receive tuitions smoothly. The list is excitedly endless!

    Although technology has made me a more efficient, knowledgable, and experienced teacher, due to the swift pace that technology progresses, it’s a bit challenging to keep up! We must try. This is the world our young students know and if we want to relate, we must make an effort with technology. It doesn’t mean we let go of the good, solid hands-on approach. It will always be the best!

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