Music education, the open learning revolution, and the role of project based learning in the 21st century.
Sunday 29th October, 2017
A burning desire to bring my multilayered musical imaginings to life has inspired me to learn how to use DAWs.
I had, for many years, been put off embracing new technologies in my own music practice as my first experience of a DAW was using Cubase, more than 20 years ago. I found myself constantly frustrated by what I didn’t know and having no access to the community of learners and teachers that the internet now provides, I got bored of learning the technology because I was no longer focusing on the music.
Re-engaging with the process through working with Garage Band, because it came free with my computer…feeling more confident by watching online videos and reading forums (the internet has spurned the most amazing culture of skills sharing)…I am again feeling freer to expand my own musical expression beyond guitar and voice. And already I’m realising the limitations of this program and am ready to try something like Ableton. There is a Mooc on Ableton Live and I’ve looked into a couple of face to face courses in Adelaide. I think I’ll go with the Mooc to begin with.
Watching DJ-Producers at work is quite beautiful. It’s clear that they are working so many different areas of their brain – and yes, it makes me feel like I was watching a highly skilled musician playing an instrument I am unfamiliar with.
Listening to David Price, I completely agree that learning is already “OPEN” and has been for a while – particularly among younger people, who have grown up in a digitally enabled world.
Most teachers I know are struggling to get their heads around this fact and many are scared that they don’t know how to catch up.
In my current daily work as a teacher in a reengagement program, working with teenagers who had opted out of mainstream education quite early, I am daily reminded of the value of both OPEN learning and project based learning. This is how this cohort of students learns best – on their own terms, at their own pace.
When I first started teaching 15 years ago, I was really excited by the idea of cross curricula learning but I found very quickly that the line “that’s too hard…how will we fit it into the timetable?...” was all too common. While there are excellent examples of genuine BLs happening across the country, there remains a conservatism and reluctance to shake things up – from teachers, administrators and policy makers. Most students don’t need convincing that BLs are an authentic, exciting and engaging way to learn and they can see the results for themselves both in terms of greater academic success but all the vitally important so called “soft” skills of collaboration, creativity and communication, we will require as the way our world works continues to change.
Music education, like all of the arts, is made for the BLs. Culture, sociology, science and mathematics, visual, performing and other communication arts, resilience, persistence and play can all be intricately linked through the study of music. Peer learning, collaboration, innovation, understanding technology and explaining how the world works, IS music education.
If we genuinely embrace the idea that everything is linked and that by exploring topics and ideas through a range of potential solutions we will develop learners who are active participants, not passive consumers.
A vibrant, innovative, solutions focused, kind and civil society requires that we actively participate in the development of our own culture. I am really excited to work in education in these changing times and I wholeheartedly embrace the ideas and actions we need to take as we step further into the 21st century.
Dani Burbrook ©