Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity

By Scott Watson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
TECHNOLOGY, MUSICAL
CREATIVITY, AND THIS BOOK

INTRODUCTION

IT HAS NEVER BEEN EASIER or more fun for your students to compose, improvise, arrange, and produce music-related projects. Why? Because of developments in music technology. In the last several decades, with the advent of personal computing, electronic musical instruments, the MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) software and hardware protocol, the evolution of the Internet, and an explosion of niche software authoring, among other things, teachers and their students in music classes and ensembles have more tools at their disposal than ever for expressing musical creativity. What’s more, two trends have brought these great technology resources within the reach of music educators who might not have otherwise been able to take advantage of them. First, program designers have been making the technical side of the technology more and more invisible so users can get at the creative side more easily, without distraction. Second, more and more freeware, shareware, open source, and web applications (online programs) are being created and offered at little or no cost. Indeed, whereas music educators once had to purchase software or, at best, download freeware or shareware applications for music notation and multitrack recording, today they can find web-based applications to accomplish these tasks at no cost anywhere they can get online. Add to that the rise of online resellers dealing in discounted and/or used music gear and you will find that the cost of technology is less of an obstacle than ever.

Leading students in meaningful creative activities must go beyond simply providing helpful technology tools or even offering instruction in using those tools. Thousands have a working knowledge of computer music notation software, such as Finale and Sibelius, or music production programs, such as ProTools. Does that make them all composers or music producers? In one sense, yes, and in another sense, no. Some would say that only a handful of these “operators” write or produce music artistically. Others could point to the subjective nature of art and to how vocational training is rarely the goal of music education anyway. Regardless, creative musical activities provide the perfect

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