Why Music Technology is relevant to us all

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Technology in Music Education (TiME) was formed to raise awareness of music technology and to provide training in collaboration with industry partners.  The changing landscape of music education and retail means that understanding the way in which music technology dovetails with wider music making is becoming increasingly essential.

We asked TiME founders and MIA members David Ward and Richard Llewellyn to outline their thoughts on this.

Music technology is an important and growing area of the music business, made all the more apparent during the pandemic, and it is relevant to a wider range of retailers than is traditionally assumed.

There are obvious opportunities for retailers, suppliers and manufacturers, but it is vital to understand not only the technology but also the particular needs for different settings, and so training is vital.

As with all areas of music there are many different levels within music tech, from beginners through to advanced users, and many different education settings from early years to degree and postgraduate level.  Music technology can also improve accessibility for people with disabilities and can be applied within music therapy and with disadvantaged members of society.

In normal circumstances our jobs entail visiting many schools, colleges and universities, talking with staff and students.  We also work widely with Music Hubs who, inspired by the innovative lead of Leicestershire Schools Music Service and NMPAT, are increasingly using technology to engage more students in whole-class activities.  It is heartening to see how much music making is going on and to see how music technology is encouraging sustained involvement in music making across all genders and ethnic groups.

Music technology can also be a terrific aid to more traditional forms of musical learning, and our ideal would be that every child should learn a musical instrument alongside music technology.  Something as simple as making good quality recordings of students’ playing can be very rewarding for all involved, and it offers a great resource for students and teachers to listen back and discuss progress. Even promoting learning more firmly based in technology isn’t the separate world it is often made out to be.  Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs), for example, allow more students to have fun making music and can also be a driving force to learn a musical instrument.

At TiME we are dedicated to bringing awareness of this potential, and there is opportunity for retailers to develop the knowledge and product range to be part of it.

The myth persists that music technology is hard to learn, but that myth has been perpetuated by the jargon that has built up over the years.  Once that has been removed the veil of technobabble disappears, and this is something that both retailers and suppliers need to be aware of, both in terms of embracing elements of music technology that fit within their offering and in explaining products to customers.

At TiME we are developing support to help keep people up to date.  Sign up for the TiME newsletter to get the latest information sent to you directly, and visit the plethora of resources on the TiME website.

Contact information for TiME:

David Ward, Managing Director: david@techmusiced.org.uk

Richard Llewellyn, Executive Director: richard@techmusiced.org.uk

Kate Rounding, Development Director: kate@techmusiced.org.uk