domingo, 25 de setembro de 2016

My Manifesto on The 21st Century Music Education


Music embraces every culture

Music brings people together

Music stimulates a huge part of the brain

Music education in early years makes us better human beings


Education must be student centered.
It is important for educators to know their students, to know what are their strengths and to focus on their abilities.

The approach should be a mixture of the traditional way and the new
Spread sheets don't work on students as is used to. New methods must be incorporated in the Music Syllabus. A more popular and contemporary repertoire can be used to get students' attention and spark their interest in more elaborate pieces. 

Technology is here FOR us and not against us
Almost every student is connected to the internet through some digital device. Use it!

Everybody should have an opportunity to play an instrument and to get in touch with the technological breakthroughs
Music also enhances the connection between your brain and your body. Acoustic instruments and digital workstations play a huge part in developing this self awareness. 


Use the technology available
Be it digital workstations, cellphones, tablets, computers, synthesizers or any other device. 

Use acoustic instruments
The students need to know the sound of unplugged instruments and explore them.

Present new ways of doing music
Use every sound source available.

Introduce technology
Keep students updated with the advances of technology in the music industry and, if possible, work with it.

Foster creativity, composing and improvisation skills
Promote activities in which students are able to let their creativity flow.

segunda-feira, 19 de setembro de 2016

Music Education as a NEW Educational System

It is funny how we easily judge things that we don't know. Many of us musicians, specially the classical trained ones, that are not familiar with technological devices, misinterpret the ones that work with these technologies. Since the world is developing fast, technologically speaking, it has become important for the 21st century musician and music teachers to understand the principles of the DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation) and other softwares that can help them to do a better job.

In the other hand, there are musicians that are really into technology. Usually DJs are not seeing as "real musicians" just because they don't play "real instruments". But anything can be used as an instrument and now we have some controllers on the market that allow us to controle almost every type of sound as we can see in this performance of DJ Madeon and DJ Mad Zach. I guess we all agree that they know music, right?

Another thing that technologies brought us is the possibility to learn almost everything we want. In sites like WikiHow and YouTube we find endless things to learn. I myself have a YouTube channel, in portuguese, where I teach people how to sing properly (Gustavo Tassi). I get really amazed by the idea of having all these knowledge right there in the touch of a finger. Educational researcher Sugata Mitra explane how we could make a good use of this possibilities in one of his Ted Talks.

Now, if we combine that with the principles of Project Based Learning (PBL) we have a very effective educational method that engage students in learning, as seen in High Tech High. But musicians have an advantage! We already know how that works. We've learned music and teach music using that method without even noticing. We do the projects ourselves first, we learn about the history, rhythm and other aspects of the music we're playing.

So, let's help other subject teachers to understand how it works. Let's combine our way of learning and teaching with the technological achievements and star building a new educational system!

domingo, 11 de setembro de 2016

Technology in developing countries

For further reading on the use of technology developing countries' education.

The impact of technology to education in the developing countries

Technology can empower children in developing countries - if it's done right

You’ve got to try this new app (parody of "You've got to hide your love away" by The Beatles)

Here I stand ipad in hand
Testing my new app
Every instrument there for me
In the palm of my hand

Orff and Steiner they both said
Music is not a choice
Build up your brain strenthens your mind
Now I’ll record my voice

Hey you’ve got to try this new app
Hey you’ve got to try this new app

How could I even try
Something I’ve never seen
ipads and new technologies
I wonder what it means

Many of us don’t know how to read
I know it’s a shame
That’s how it is in developing countries
But who’s the one to blame?

When will I try this new app?
When will I try this new app?

quinta-feira, 1 de setembro de 2016

The old and the new

According to musician and brain researcher Anita Collins the simple act of listening to music activates many different parts of our brain, like "fireworks" as she says. It also has a huge impact in our brain development if exposed to children until their 7th year. 

That being said, it should be mandatory for every school to have music education on it's curriculum. But how to keep the student's interest on that subject all the way through high school?

Francis Xavier, one of the founders of the Motorik record label, suggests that it should star with practice, to get the students involved on the activity. Professor Lucy Green, from the University of London, goes even further when she says that the repertoire should meet student's taste using popular music. But one of Australia's most famous conductor, Richard Gill, advises that we shouldn't stick with the popular music but take that as a starting point and expend it to other kinds of music. He also suggests that music education should start with singing, (just like the Steiner schools and the Orff method do). 

Meanwhile, there is a music training center called Liveschool that teaches music through technology using Ableton Live. Adam Maggs, founder of this school, says that it is possible, and more attractive to some people, to learn music using technology to manipulate sounds.

As you see, there are many different ways to approach music education but, as I said on the last article, the key is to balance everything. We can't forget the acoustic instruments and traditions, specially the one instrument that we are born with - our voice, and we also can't run away from technological achievements. If we could find a way to combine those methods the students would be much more interested in learning music.