Digitisation in music education

Empowering learners and teachers and inspiring them to integrate educational technologies to create innovative learning environments that transform learning and teaching: might this be the ‘force of change’ (Savage, 2007) that so often is attributed to technology? Might this be a way to enhance the quality of music education and as such transform it? To strengthen music in society through broader access and more diversity? To even shape society?.

Notably, digitisation is a phenomenon that nowadays, as we are living in a highly technological age, imbues almost all aspects of life. Evidently, this has profound repercussions in the domain of music in general, and in music education in particular. Digital means are increasingly penetrating all aspects of music teaching and learning, of being a musician in the 21st century. Indeed, could we imagine today’s musician’s entrepreneurship, international collaboration and mobility without digital tools such as the internet, smartphones, computers?  And also, when thinking about innovation in music education, can we really neglect the abundance of interactive technologies, apps and electronic devices? And what about music’s role in society? Could we imagine this without the technologies that allow music to pervade in all segments of society? Finally, think of the inclusion of a diversity of individuals that without technology would have no access to education, to information.

And yet, this all-pervasive nature of digitisation requires careful consideration. The fact that it is being widespread is not a guarantee for its successful implementation. Digital technology is not the panacea of the new age but just another tool that can go in different directions, both good and bad. 

To think in a critical way about the what, why, and how of digitisation, a Working Group on Digitisation has been formed in the context of the Strengthening Music in Society (SMS) project, an initiative of the European Association of Conservatoire (AEC), co-funded by the Creative Europe programme. This Working Group on Digitisation includes experts who wish to pose themselves pedagogical questions within the broader scope of societal and even political concerns such as inclusiveness, diversity and equal opportunities for all.

The working group believes that in the context of music education, whether formal or informal – empowerment, integration and transformation are the beacons that not only help to carefully consider technology in education, but also provoke us to go beyond short term thinking in the pursuit of shaping a music education of the future. As such, these beacons may help to set the agenda for music educational developments and innovations, and even to define and determine the way music has a place in society.

References:

  • Savage, J. (2007) Pedagogical strategies for change. In J. Finney and P. Burnard (eds). Music Education with Digital Technology, pp. 142–56. London: Continuum.

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