There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered the future of music education – and education in general for that matter. When everyone began to scramble during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic back in March, it was pretty clear that the rest of the 2020 academic year would need to be finished remotely, including the music programs. Though this is still a prominent issue right now, the doors are semi-opening back up again, turning education into a more hybrid approach.
But here is the zinger.
Music education during COVID-19 has been one of the trickiest fields to adapt because let’s face it, it is impossible to play a mouth instrument or sing projectively with a mask on. When remote without the proper technology, it is impossible to stay in perfect harmony with the rest of the class because everyone is in different acoustic spaces. However, that does not mean the future of music education is on halt until this virus is under control; it just means that music schools had to get innovative with their ways to develop successful online music programs that provide favorable results.
How Are Music Schools Adapting?
Though there are several pretty impressive alterations that have been done over the last several months, one of the most notable and quite reflective of the times is advancing remote learning processes. Music schools that were once wholly in-person had to figure out a way to develop a remote instruction system that works. They found that aside from needing to adapt to the new physical environment for those coming back in-person, those who launched new online music programs had to improve remote teaching technology to influence optimal acoustics.
The thing is that though many music schools had the necessary technology and software to accommodate online learning, not all were that prepared. The fact of the matter is that until now, there was not a “one-size-fits-all” approach that gave students the ability to work outside of the classroom effectively. Now with the race of implementing cutting-edge tools to make it happen, the music technology industry is booming and will very likely be the new reality of the future of music education.
What Are Some of Those Music Technologies?
In general, there are numerous different technologies that make online music programs work well. One that has become increasingly popular is called BandLab. BandLab is a cross-platform technology that is mostly used for teaching primary and secondary students remotely. It features a free online DAW with both audio and MIDI tracks, and the loop library contains a pretty hefty number of sample kits and high-quality construction for virtual skill-building. Though excellent and widely used, that is not the only resource out there. Some other fundamental ones include:
- Monkey Machine – This is an online drum machine that allows students to create drum loops up to 32 beats.
- iNudge – With this, students can create quality sounding musical patterns seamlessly. This one is known to be the most straightforward music education software for its simplicity aspects for both the teachers and the students.
- Audiotool – Audiotool gives students the ability to make pattern-based music using hardware emulators. Each tool/element can be dragged where they desire on the screen and can be used to reach signal flow.
- Incredibox – Using Incredibox, students can arrange and remix music to get familiar with tones and styles. In addition, it works very well on an interactive virtual whiteboard.
Though this list is not an end all be all, it just goes to show how the need for the right software is necessary during these uncertain times. It allows teachers and students to have the freedom to compose and manipulate content, teach and reinforce musical concepts like rhythm, pitches, and improvisation, and much more. So, though live zoom meetings/classes are excellent on their own to drive engagement and interaction, having the right technology to boot is what is keeping many music schools staying afloat.
Online Music Programs Are the Way of the Future
It is not to say that Covid-19 has forced every music school to turn to remote learning forever. There are many places right now that are taking a hybrid approach with the full intention of going back to completely in-house once the pandemic is over. Even so, the future of music education has certainly shaped out much differently than imagined before the start of the year 2020. Most places will end up, or already have, built a digital literacy module in their curriculum to teach the basics of music technology and how to create good audio and video recordings.
In the end, the question was how music schools are making online classes work, and the answer is engagement, adaptation, technology, and of course, passion. Overall, online music programs have taken a front seat in music education and will likely be a strong feature moving forward within the digital age to support future music professionals in launching their careers in a post-Covid world.