As I sat in the music library at UT last week, another student mentioned that a music theory professor had discussed social media and blogging within the context of his music theory classes. A few days later, I passed that professor in the hallway and stopped to chat with him for a few minutes. The conversation turned to how social media is used within music education. After we talked, he emailed me several articles and links about the topic. Not only does this demonstrate how innovation plays a role in the use of social media, but also how technologies can influence social activities in diverse contexts. The role of social media is shaping communication patterns in education.
As Cole stated, users are defined by social, cultural, and technological facets (2006). The particular set of users I refer to in this post are students and teachers. So likewise, their cultural focus is academics and the technological aspect focuses on social media. The new generation of students is part of the “Net Generation,” having spent most of their lives connected to the internet. They stay connected through social media and are comfortable sharing personal information in the internet. These students prefer quick access to information, often from multiple multimedia sources, with pictures, sounds, and video, rather than text (Chong, 2008). So it makes sense that music education should follow the same way and look to innovative new tools to assist with learning and teaching.
The discussion I had with the music theory professor was primarily about Noteflight, a music notation software program, his use of it in the classroom, and how it encouraged interaction between students, teachers, and their compositions (www.noteflight.com). Since it is available as a free program, it works well for education. In addition, Noteflight offers social media functions and communities. For instance, speech bubble tabs are located across the top of the scores, allowing students and teachers a way to comment on the music score. Other options available include a “favorite” button (McConville, 2012). Although these are the only functions so far, it seems likely that additional integration into social media applications such as Facebook or Twitter will be added soon. These innovations turn music theory education into an interactive learning experience, rather than a one-sided listening and evaluation.
Other applications of technologies contribute to music instruction, and social media researchers agree that online communities form conceptual frameworks to exchange experiences and reflections, and in turn, enhance learning (Albert, 2015). McConville (2012) discusses other Web 2.0 environments that enhance pedagogical instruction. Some YouTube videos display musical scores as they play, allowing analysis or play-along. According to Giebelhausen (2015), even music teacher workshops are available on YouTube, often through subscriptions to channels, such as Dalcroze Society of America: https://www.youtube.com/dalcrozeusa/ or NAfME (National Association for Music Education): https://www.youtube.com/NAfMEmusic. The music education community also has communities using Twitter hashtags, such as #musiced. Several Twitter hashtags connect to time-specific, focused discussion groups. For instance, #musedchat (music education), is online Mondays at 5pm, giving teachers the opportunity to network and learn about current or new innovations. Additionally, conducting students can watch videos of different versions of repertoire, thus are able to learn different styles, expressions, and conducting gestures from a number of more experienced maestros (Giebelhausen, 2015). The available online tools contribute to a broader music education, through the sensory experience.
In my graduate level class on musical styles, every week each student researched a composer and musical work in an assigned time period, and then contributed to an online Wikia community: http://musc520-musical-styles-s14.wikia.com/wiki/MUSC520_Musical_Styles_S14_Wiki. We posted the history and background of the composer, an mp3 sample of their work, and a score. The interactive style of learning greatly enhanced the class. Thus, innovation on the web has begun to impact the community of music educators of all levels, from grade schools to universities.
Albert, D. J. (2015). Social media in music education: Extending learning to where students “live.” Music Educators Journal, 102(2), 31-38. doi:10.1177/0027432115606976.
Chong, E. K. M. (2015). Teaching music theory using blogging: Embracing the world of web 2.0. Proceedings of the 17th International Seminar of the Commission for the Education of the Professional Musician (CEPROM), International Society for Music Education (ISME) July 2008. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233753349_Teaching_Music_Theory_Using_Blogging_Embracing_the_World_of_Web_20.
Cole, F. (2006). Appreciating context in social informatics: From the outside in, and the inside out. Proceedings of ASIS&T Annual Meeting, Austin, TX, Social Informatics Workshop, November 3-8, 2006.
Giebelhausen, R. (2015). What the tech is going on? Social media and your music classroom. General Music Today, 28(2), 39-46.
McConville, B. (2012). Noteflight as a Web 2.0 tool for music theory pedagogy. Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, 26.