New Methods in Music Education

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New Methods in Music Education

Education in music, both for future instrumentalists and for the general public attending classical music concerts, represents an important element in the preservation and development of classical music. As modern methods, especially those involving digitization, are increasingly used in education, the question arises: Can these methods be beneficial for the future of classical music?

At first glance, we tend to believe that these methods are not relevant for preparing a student using an acoustic instrument or for educating an audience meant to participate in physically held concerts in concert halls. However, if we look at it from a different perspective, specifically examining music streaming platforms, we realize that digitization has also made its way into classical music.

If we open the most popular music streaming applications and search for “Classical Music,” we will find multiple playlists, with the most listened ones having 634,343 on Spotify and a compilation with 141 million views on YouTube Music for the same search. These two platforms are the most well-known and used for classical music listening, but there are also other popular platforms like Primephonic, Idagio, Naxos, and Classical Archives.

From the aforementioned information, it’s easy to see that the future of classical music is no longer strictly physical but rather a digital future, where musical education needs to cover both the digital competencies of artists who want to be heard online and the listeners’ need to filter through millions of artists present on these platforms.

The use of modern methods should accompany learners from a very young age, primarily to capture their attention in a technology-dependent world and to equip them with the necessary skills to access, record, or listen to music. These methods and tools should involve the use of state-of-the-art equipment such as VR goggles, artificial intelligence, and 3D sound systems. While it is clear that certain formal boundaries cannot be surpassed in the methods used to teach an aspiring artist to play an instrument, there are no limits for educating the future audience in the use of such equipment.

To help listeners understand the complexity of the artistic act, they should know what a musician, conductor, or composer does, and this aspect can be clarified with the help of VR technology. The “Maestro” application, offered by Oculus, provides users with a unique experience as they can conduct a symphony orchestra without having any musical knowledge, through the concept of gamification. Besides the practical aspect, users enrich their knowledge and understanding of classical music as they go through the proposed repertoire in the form of a game with specific tasks. Being easy to use and intuitive, this application is accessible to anyone with a pair of VR goggles, and in the near future, most schools in Europe are expected to have the necessary technology to use this application as a modern method in music education.

Another application that offers an experience through VR is the VR Violin Hackathon by SideQuest, which allows learners to play the violin. Even without holding an actual instrument, they can observe finger distances between notes, the position to hold the bow, and most importantly, they can produce various sounds. With perseverance, they can even reproduce a simple melody using the application.

“Music Sheet Trainer” is another VR application that allows anyone to learn musical notes and where they are located on the piano keys. Constructed as a game where users receive specific tasks, the application develops the cognitive abilities of users, helping them learn the notes on the music staff without the need for any theoretical lessons.

There are numerous applications used as modern methods in music education, too many to present in a single article. However, it is worth highlighting that they represent an important reference point for the future, creating a new generation of music lovers in concert halls or on streaming platforms.

Another modern concept in music education is collaborative learning. This method can be applied to both aspiring professional musicians and amateurs, as it stimulates creativity and human interaction. Students can be encouraged to play or compose together, explore various musical styles, and create their own pieces. This fosters communication skills, active listening, and collaboration in completing tasks.

In a world where the focus is mainly on a child’s social development, this method should be given a prominent place among the new elements used in education. Although it was first used many years ago when rural settlements, schools, and public institutions had a brass band, a choir, or even an orchestra, it started to be used less frequently after the year 2000 due to some pedagogical concepts advocating that each student should develop individually and at their own pace, without the pressure of the group. Unfortunately, this idea generated disparities in the skill level of instrumentalists, leading to a crisis in many orchestras as each student was prepared methodically and mentally to be a soloist.

Modern methods of teaching music are not entirely new; they are simply adaptations to digitization, the social context in which we live, and the general mentality towards education and music. Therefore, the elements presented earlier, namely the development of digital competencies for using music-oriented platforms, the concept of gamification, and collaborative learning, should be important starting points in educating future classical music performers, both amateurs and professionals, as well as the audience educated in mainstream schools to appreciate artists on stage or in the virtual environment.

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