Music education needs to modernise to keep up with "rapidly evolving" technology

Josh Peachey's picture
by Josh Peachey

The Music Commission has made a number of tech-based recommendations in order to modernise the teaching of Music Education in England. 

The report states that "there has been an inadequate response to how young people use technology in their experience of music."

Young people are now taking a DIY approach to music learning. An IpsosS MORI survey revealed that 39% are teaching themselves to some extent.

The report acknowledges how today's music learners have the ability to explore any era or kind of music at any time, can merge sounds from any culture, and improvise together and discuss in digital online spaces such as forums. 

The Music Commission report, chaired by Sir Nicholas Kenyon, makes three major recommendations in their proposed 10-year-plan. 

Firstly, a UK Digital research and development fund for music, secondly, a Technology in Music competition that showcases the most exciting use of technologies, and thirdly, a Music Education Digital Forum that will encourage new UK-wide partnerships between educators, tech companies and the music industry. 

The report continues: "The pace at which technology is evolving is rapid. The opportunities technology offers for learning, making and engaging with music are significant and, in our view, currently under-exploited.

"For music education, technology opens up the opportunity to use sound in different ways. It is also providing an increasingly important means for creating music, with coding becoming as important a vehicle as notation for doing so. 

"For young people, therefore, new technology increasingly provides meaningful tools; ones with which they are comfortable and adept that enable their understanding and production of music."

The panel members on the Music Commission includes the likes of Sam Jackson, Managing editor of Classic FM and Smooth Radio, David Whelton OBE, Former managing director of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Suzy Klein, Writer and Presenter of BBC Radio 3, and Carolyn Baxendale MBE, Leader of Greater Manchester Music Education Hub amongst others.