E-Learning Application in Musical Education: Needs and Possibilities

Zrinka Šimunović
University of Slavonski Brod, EDUDpt


Technological progress, or in other words, the digital revolution, a name that more clearly describes the speed and manner in which this process takes place, is changing our world in multiple areas and across multiple levels. Due to the complexity and the organization of the formal education system, the implementation and the use of technological resources does not take place sufficiently and at the same speed in all schools. The entry of technology into teaching depends on the users’ capabilities and technical resources, i.e. on each individual teacher and the technological equipment at his disposal (Nart, 2016). And while the offer of digital tools for creating, performing and sharing music has become widely available and financially acceptable to the general population, which according to Savage (2007) has accelerated the process of technological change in music, the usage of technology in schools with traditional music practice is very rare (Mills & Murray, 2000). The availability of ICT resources in music schools, such as technological equipment and licensed computer programs designed to assist learning and teaching in the users’ mother tongue  (especially those intended for music education), the lack of teachers’ competencies required to use technology in teaching, as well as the absence of methodological frameworks that could support planning and executing of such lessons are the main reasons for this delay of technology implementation in the music education system. According to a 2018 study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), more than 60% of teachers said that they did not feel ready to use digital technology in teaching. By contrast, in a public consultation launched by the European Commission in 2021 on the new Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027), over 60% of teachers stated that they had improved their digital skills and that the crisis caused by COVID-19 forced them to use technology more than usual. In the near future, it is realistic to expect that ICT will be integrated into the usual music teaching curriculum (Crow, 2005). Teachers should advance from being the passive users of digital tools to becoming the digital innovators capable of using technology to improve their teaching skills and consequently achieving greater success with learning outcomes (Koehler & Mishra, 2005).

But how much is technology changing us as music teachers? How much is our teaching changing? And formal music education in general? What is good about this change and what is not good for our students? We are discussing and emphasizing the benefits that technology provides in music teaching, however, certain special demands, that such education requires, technology cannot fulfil yet. For instance, demonstrating proper body posture, along with correct arm and hand position, avoiding injuries while performing music (Waddell & Williamon, 2019) or delivering online teaching at a high artistic level (Adileh, 2012). These are all actions that, in addition to multidimensional activities, presuppose a “live” teacher (Ruismäki & Juvonen, 2009), a “live’’ model observed and followed by the students with more of their senses than just sight and hearing. Through the method of interviews with music school teachers, we will try to find answers to the questions posed here and some additional ones. The aim of this paper is to encourage the scientists and teachers in music education to think about and find the best solutions for optimal and purposeful use of new technological achievements.

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