Questions I’ve been asked to ponder

Q: You were introduced to the DAW (or sequencer), the step sequencer, and a range of notation software. Do you feel you would like to explore any of these technologies further?

A: These musical technologies are now a little less frightening to me, since they have been explained at a fairly basic level. I still feel somewhat overwhelmed at the thought of learning how to use them, but given that I am more-or-less self-taught with my computer and internet skills, I am sure I would manage if exposed to the tools in manageable chunks. I don’t have any friends who have access to these technologies, and at this stage I don’t see myself seeking out formal training in their use.

Q: Have you been persuaded that the DJ-producer does have an awful lot of sophisticated musical skills?

A: As I watched Madeon in his video, I was very impressed at the visual impact of this live performance. He wasn’t just playing, he was dancing an improvised yet structured piece and the consoles were his instrument. I didn’t like the sound of most of what he was creating, but I certainly appreciated how clever and skilled he was.

Q: Do you agree with David Price that learning has gone “OPEN”?

A: Not all learning has gone “open”, but certainly lots of it has. And for that I am truly grateful. Just before I started this course I came across an online training that claimed to offer exactly the curriculum I wanted. However, the site provided insufficient information about the course’s creator, and offered no preview. This was not an open course – it wanted several hundred dollars. And I did not feel I could trust that the course would deliver the content and quality I needed. I’ve read mixed reviews of various Coursera courses, but because they are free unless I choose later to purchase a certificate, I am free to start, finish and/or avoid them, at any time/place I like. That’s open.

Q: What were the best examples of OPEN learning that you found either in the course content, in your own searching, or the work of your peers?

A: I really love the videos created by skilled musicians, about how to master or refine certain technical aspects of the instrument or musicianship. For example http://www.joshwrightpiano.com/. I also love TED talks, and of course, Coursera. Every time I receive an email suggesting more Coursera courses, I can’t help signing up for another fascinating topic.

Q: What does Project Based Learning (or the other BLs) have to offer Music Education? And what does Music Education have to offer Project Based Learning, and all learning, in the 21st Century?

A: A search of “project based learning music” revealed a number of good hits such as Portraits of Practice and Music with Mr Kniffen. Portraits contains many tools for how to apply PBL to music education – it’s an example of open learning – and both contain examples of projects that have been used successfully. Titles such as “Instrument-creating Project”, “Cover Song Project” and “Composing for a Cartoon”, give a sense of the kinds of topics, and within each are subgoals in areas such as connecting music and emotion, the need to be in tune and in time in ensemble projects, what is a quality composition… all topics that can be explored didactically, but in this case are learned as part of the process of creating the project.

So PBL can offer to music students what it offers to all students: “a way for students to personalize their learning, take ownership, use relevant technology, build upon and acquire new skills, and showcase their understanding to key learning outcomes—and yes, solve a real world ‘problem’.” (Personalized Learning Through Project-Based Music).

As for music education having something to offer all learning in the 21st Century, I agree with   James Humberstone  that the very practical background of most music educators prepares them well for PBL. Beyond that, as someone who is not a trained teacher, I will not venture further opinions.

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