Technology’s effect on Music

| March 15, 2011

iPads, iPhones, Rockband, Garageband. These are just a few of the technological advances that are affecting the field of music. There is no question that they are available and frequently used not only by adults, but by teenagers and even younger children. In today’s society it is plausible that a child’s first experience with making music is when playing a video game such as Rock band or Guitar Hero, or using drum loops in Garageband. These are very different introductions to making music than those such as piano lessons or learning the recorder, that previous generations experienced.

Recently, I’ve been asked on numerous occasions if I think this technology is good for music education and after thinking about the issue, I think technology does and will continue to benefit music education. In the past, music was something that could be listened to and appreciated by everyone, but created by those who knew how to read and write it. Garageband, iPads, iPhones, Reason, etc.. allow anyone who is interested to create music, essentially leveling the playing field. Rock band, Guitar Hero and other similar video games expose children and teens to music making and may create an initial interest in music and cause them to come to the music room to see what this music making thing is all about. Everyone in society is able to pick up a pencil and draw a picture or write a poem; why shouldn’t everyone have the option of making music?

I am in no way saying that technology should replace knowledge of music theory and our instrumental and choral ensembles. If a student wants to play an instrument they need to be literate in music. If a student wants to write a piece for an ensemble, they too need to be literate in music. I believe that as music educators we need to accept that there are new ways of making music and make room for these new ideas in our curriculum. I foresee concerts in my future including band, orchestra, chorus and some type of new technological device ensemble.