While teaching music traditionally will always have a place in the classroom due to the timelessness of many instruments, there is a growing need to diversify both teaching tactics and subject matter for students.
It’s true that learning an instrument is a central part of musical education, but this belies the fact that there’s more depth to the industry than performance. For a student interested in music, there are many paths that they can take when it comes to choosing a career. Much like the normal approach to STEM fields, it’s up to educational institutions to expose students to the options available to them, so that they may make an informed decision.
Because of this, Music Recording Technology (MRT) programs are becoming available in many colleges with the goal of teaching students about the technical side of the industry, including sound editing, recording, and marketing music. Even in primary school, easy-to-access tools such as GarageBand give children exposure to this side of music.
These tools also enable a more technical look into the mechanical side of music. Notation programs allow for students to experiment with writing and reading, giving them fundamental skills that are relevant no matter what they choose to pursue later on. Reading music can often be a chore for younger children, but these programs are more immersive and allow for a degree of flexibility when it comes to learning.
Recording tools are perhaps the most relevant on both sides. Learning industry standard programs is important for the technical side of a music career. Conversely, even students focused on performance can use this technology to better gauge their own work and mix it for presentation to others.
Even the vast records of music available online have changed the face of music education. With any piece available with the click of a mouse, students are able to hear original recordings and even deconstruct works. With a breadth of music to study, students can learn the history and creative processes better than ever.
While there are no specific standards for using or teaching music technology, many of the tools outlined above help further the core skills necessary to become an adept musician or music technician. In some schools, such as Chemsfield Public School in Massachusetts, students work on commercial jingles as their projects—something which requires a thorough recording and editing process to do properly. In addition, extracurricular programs such as the Technology Student Association offer competitive projects in subjects such as music recording, giving interested students another outlet to hone their skills.
Technology in music education has the twofold effect of improving learning processes while also making students more well-rounded for their future careers in the industry. Music programs on all levels should pay attention to the technologies used, as standards can change overnight. Proper preparation on the part of schools can engage students and encourage them to embrace a career in music.