I've written about it already: Music Education must shift (as most of what we do in Education must shift now). But I haven't given a prescription for the shift. I'll focus on music education first since it's where I've spent most of my career.

Once upon a time, as the world was changing and going digital, music was right out front as one of the game changers. Since people love music, they wanted music. As digital formats and broadband increased so did the possibility that music could be made available for next to free. A huge demand ensued. Enterprising individuals with some coding know-how made it possible for people to find music online. That's the beginning of the story and how P2P networking changed the world. The rest is known to us. Napster and other websites that allowed free sharing of music and other copyrighted material were targeted by the RIAA and the copyright wars began.


Now, new modes of distribution and consumption are in place, money is paid to the artists and the world is changed. Of course, the illegal stuff still happens and will continue to-until we radically redfine and de-criminalize file sharing. But it was larely a demand for MUSIC that inspired the whole digital-everything movement. And As Chris Anderson will tell you, once things are digitized, distribution costs are almost nill for a gizzillion copies of the same file (mp3, mp4, .mov, .avi etc..).


So where does secondary Music Education fit into this? Prominently, I think. Center Stage, if you will. Teens and music go hand in hand. They "do" music all the time. In these times, students are downloading, manipulating, re-mixing and listening to music daily. What happens when they come to music "class". What is happening in "General" Music Classrooms today? Do students ever hear "their" music? In a 21st Century Music
Program, they should. Do they use technology, loop-based composition software to make their OWN music? In a 21st Century Music Program, they should. Do they get to create and remix music the way they do in the real world? Do they get to download and keep their music as Mp3 files? In a 21st Century Music Program, they should. Is You Tube ever used in music class? i-Tunes? In a 21st Century Music Program, they should be.

It's an important shift because in a 21st century Music Program, there is potential for many more students to be part of the program--shifting it from the old Band/Chorus paradigm and justifying it solidly to School Boards. When you turn all students into Artists, it's difficult to cut a program. That's possible in a 21st Century Music Program.

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Tags: education, music

Comment by Christina Swedberg on May 26, 2011 at 8:00am

This is an interesting idea.  I find that technology works best for me when I integrate it into the general music ed program.  I teach K-5 students in Kansas.  I see my students either 60 or 90 minutes a week.  I have 21 classes and about 500 students. 

I have created "Music Madness" Friday.  On fridays we have 6 centers.  I use free music websites, computer software, Nintendo Wii (Let's Tap, Wii Music, and Disney Family Hits), file folder games, music books, and iPods.  I recieved much of the technology through grants the last few years.  I am looking at adding iPads next year.  I also show a lot of YouTube videos.  Check out Star Wars John Williams is the Man.  I also showed songs that we were working on to my students.  Candy Man from Malcolm in the Middle, Addams Family Theme song, Danny Boy (the Muppets), etc.  My kids love YouTube. 

 

While I do a lot of integrating I do not feel that technology should take the place of general music.  It is a tool that can enhance everything we do. 

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