Thoughts on teaching music in a digital world

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As a future Music Teacher and Early Childhood Music Educator in a digital world, I would like to continue with this Blog, including items of interest that I may find and reflections on music.

When I began teaching music in June 2013 I asked my students, who ranged in age from 5 – 67 years, about how they would best like to receive teaching materials. We could use the traditional sheet music in paper form, or we could use digitally produced music, tablature or chord charts and load these onto USB sticks. We could also use iPad applications, email video files, save to Sound Cloud and various other applications that are now available. The possibilities were endless!

Image source

One of my assessment pieces for classical singing exams.

I have to admit, I wasn’t feeling terribly confident about the digital world at the time and was hoping they would all say paper sheet music is fine and they did – thankfully! However, we did use technology as a resource.

Teaching music in the digital age is very different to when I was taught in the 1970’s. It was paper sheet music through and through, my teacher would play the melodies on her old upright piano and record them onto cassette tapes for me to take home and practice.

For my students, I chose to teach them in a more traditional way. However, I did utilise technology to assist. We would go onto YouTube and listen to songs they were interested in learning. In particular we looked at acoustic versions of songs rather than the overly produced pop songs of today (yes you can call me old fashioned). Unfortunately, youth today think that singing and playing the guitar acoustically will make them sound like the song they hear on the radio or iPod, not so!

I introduced my students to some of the older melodic folk songs, which are fantastic for developing tone, breathing and they’re just darn nice to listen to!!!

I may be a Digital Immigrant, but I believe and acknowledge that technology has its place and is an absolute necessity in the 21st century and into the future. However, in my opinion, there needs to be a healthy balance.


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