Yesterday, I attended the American String Teachers Association national conference. Many music students and beginner musicians don’t realize it, but there are national and international organizations for players and teachers of just about every instrument. Their conferences allow music teachers to share ideas, learn new teaching techniques, and explore an exhibit hall with all the latest instruments, accessories, and sheet music available.
I went to sessions on practicing, since that’s what we focus on here at Molto Music, and I visited just about every booth in the exhibit hall. There seemed to be something missing…
It took me a while to realize it, but what was missing was all the latest technology available for musicians. SmartMusic (accompaniment software for musicians made by the same company that makes Finale) was the only technology company in the exhibit hall. And, there were no lectures specifically on utilizing technology for better teaching and for better communication with students.
I was stunned.
The speakers I saw were great, and they offered a lot of very useful information to improve teaching, learning, and practicing. And, they mentioned the importance of some techniques that require technology:
–recording and listening back so players can accurately assess their sound
–having teachers post video on YouTube to show students how to play specific pieces
–making recordings available to students so they can hear what their music is supposed to sound like
But, there were no sessions specifically designed to guide teachers on all the available technology that could dramatically help their students. And, the exhibit hall was missing some key products–such as portable digital recorders, digital video recorders, and audio/video processing software–that I hope teachers are using.
I even heard one teacher talk about making 50 CD’s to hand out to students. Those students should be encouraged to go online to hear this music. Another teacher mentioned copying and snail-mailing a document when that information could easily be emailed or posted to their school’s website.
And, back in the exhibit hall, all of the sheet music publishers had books with CD’s in them. It’s time to eliminate these CD’s and make the same information available online or as a download. Even the sheet music books themselves will eventually be replaced by digital files–downloaded to Kindles or iPads or smart phones or some technology that hasn’t yet made it’s way to the marketplace.
Everyone in the music world should be embracing these new technologies. Are music teachers being left behind?