Modern Advances in Music Education

Connexeo - 01/31/2018

Whether within the parameters of a school, in youth symphonies and choirs, or through using music education software, the teaching of music has gained importance over the past few years, even though some schools are cutting music programs. The research is there to confirm it.

      • Music education helps develop language and reasoning, improves memorization, coordination, stimulates intellectual curiosity and can actually help SAT scores.
      • The Journal of Neuroscience reported on a 2009 study that showed that 15 months of training in early childhood was enough to enhance brain growth in areas that control hearing and fine motor skills.
      • A German Institute for Economic Research study of 3,000 17-year-olds found that students who were involved with music had stronger cognitive skills and better grades than those involved in sports, theater and dance – though all of those activities have positive benefits, as well.

A 2014 book, Ball or Bands  by John R. Gerdy, makes a case that music, with its abilities to enhance learning and brain power, should take programming and funding priority over football, with its inherent risk of concussion and more severe brain injuries. Though few education systems are buying that case, the value of music has become well-known.

Even the federal government, in passing the Every Student Succeeds Act to replace No Child Left Behind legislation in late 2016, recognized music as an essential part of a “well-rounded” education. Although the future of the act may be under scrutiny by the Trump administration, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has told school districts to continue planning as if the act would stay in effect.

While some schools take great pride in their extracurricular music programs, especially the marching bands that play at halftime at football games and participate in regional and state band competitions, much of the emphasis on music education is outside of school.Music Education Advances

Private lessons have long been a hallmark of music instruction. Piano lessons at either the student’s home or the teacher’s studio have been around for decades, as has tutoring on other instruments and voice. Now, with the advances in technology over the past 30 years or so, online lessons have become increasingly more popular.

Websites such as ArtistWorks and Live Music Tutor allow students to find a teacher online and take video lessons from that teacher. ArtistWorks offers lessons often based on genre, including bluegrass and jazz. It even has instruction on becoming a scratch DJ. Live Music Tutor includes lessons on instruments ranging from accordion to zheng (a traditional Chinese string instrument).

The process for these websites is to access a video lesson online, then submit practice videos to the instructor for personalized feedback, what ArtistWorks call “Video Exchange.” Live Music Tutor actually allows for personal lessons, live, with the instructor.

Music education software is a way for music teachers to enhance their students’ experience. SmartMusic, for example, allows instructors to create personalized assignments for their students and provide instant feedback and track grading, among other things. Other software packages don’t include the instructor-friendly programs, but can help students pace themselves with video tutorials and other features.

The value of music education has been demonstrated. Now there are more avenues than ever to access it. Between private, in-person lessons, and online training, anyone can learn almost any instrument with ease.



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