Music Education in the Digital Age: Harnessing Technology for Student Engagement

Donna Maurer • January 2024Technology • January 8, 2024

Since the pandemic, online education and the use of technology have increased. Many music educators have embraced technology to ensure they continue to adapt their techniques, curriculums, and lessons to follow the digital expansion.

Music teachers can develop new strategies to engage students more effectively and innovatively. Integrating technology for your teaching provides advantages when you use digital tools best. Here are some helpful ways you can harness technology and grow student engagement in your music classes.

Educational Music Tools The most significant tool in music education technology is using a mobile device alongside learning. Online services give you the ability to develop assignments with a vast array of music libraries. It’s easy to locate music with a simple search to find songs they can sing or play along with. You and your student can also use sharing services on platforms to gain helpful advice on playing or singing challenging pieces. Comments and feedback are provided both in and out of the classroom.

Mobile Devices Suppose your student has their own computer or mobile device at home. Then, you can use technology to provide homework assignments where a student must practice a song or music lesson outside of the classroom. Ensure your student puts in the time outside of the assignments by using these digital tools to make it less like work but still gain the benefits.

It’s necessary to upgrade and enhance the technology you use, so always be on the lookout for more sophisticated and user-friendly digital additions to your curriculum. It can be helpful to invest in equipment upgrades as well, such as your computer, laptop, tablet, or even your smartphone. Many of the tools you’ll find can significantly enhance student learning and engagement. 

Artificial Intelligence There is software available that incorporates AI for ear training to measure your students’ performance when they practice. It’s a helpful tool for you to know individual learning capabilities so you can adjust your methods as they learn. AI can also help locate and curate specific recommendations for songs to sing or play, such as with Tonara. With this technology, you can engage, enrich, and manage their learning.

Apps Apps can offer ear training, music theory, music practice, notation, and so much more. Good apps are like having a tutor to help you keep students interested in their musical development. Apps are also great because they can turn learning into a game. When your students are working with the app, they are retaining and learning information because the app makes it easy for them to enhance and build upon skills.

Computer Software/Hardware Enhanced technology can also be found within your systems and software for use in your teaching. For example, you can create your own in-home music studio for lessons and use digital platforms for recording so a student can hear themselves and quickly identify challenges. It helps pinpoint the areas they need to focus on to improve. Equipment that works with your software, such as microphones, speakers, headphones, and audio systems, are beneficial for music education. You can record students and create master recordings to share on streaming platforms and social media to showcase students’ talent, help build their confidence, and increase your visibility.

Music Technology Trends
Music learning can vary depending on how you prefer to teach and how your students learn. However, the overall evolution of music education tools and technology incorporates specific trends that shouldn’t be ignored. These include the following:

 – Music is more shareable than ever before. This can help with your student engagement when using educational tools like Soundtrap or Google Classroom and even social platforms like YouTube. 

– Apps, interactive learning games, and other educational tools provide your student with more ways to practice and excel in their craft. Ear-training apps can help students learn how to match pitch with their voice or an instrument, and music theory games make it easy to focus on specific areas you know your students need help in and make it more fun and engaging!

– The rise of new media platforms, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), can provide immersive ways of engaging students who are more visual learners. It’s also a collaborative method that can incorporate groups. Keep an eye on the upcoming features VR might provide that you can harness for your students to be more self-paced and hone their skills.

– Don’t rule out AI to supplement your teaching and student learning. AI digital assignments and assistants help give your students direct feedback on how they can improve, as well as providing necessary lessons based on what they need to focus on to get better.

Harness Digital Technology for Your Classroom
Today’s society is heavily dependent on digital technology, and it’s challenging to progress in musical education without it as an educator. Continuing to learn and implement some of these tools gives your teaching more innovation than the “same old” curriculum, which can become boring for students. Music students who live in our world today are focused on a world of immediate gratification, visual learning, and social media. Embracing the way these tools and resources can enhance your students’ progression can ensure higher levels of engagement and ultimately, mastery.

SBO+: Overwhelmed by the available technology? Did you know the non-profit Technology in Music Education offers great sessions to music educator associations for expenses only?

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