The Promise and Pitfalls of the Digital Studio
Whether or not we make the best use of technology in the music classroom, young people will continue to find unexpected uses for it elsewhere. There is no historical precedent for the informal learning possibilities afforded by inexpensive and ubiquitous computers. Are young music learners best left to their own devices, literally and figuratively? Or can we structure a classroom around these devices, combining independent play with guided group activity? Will formal educational settings will always compromise or even negate young people’s autonomy and independence? Perhaps if we think of the music room as a maker space rather than a classroom, we can admit some of the imaginative play and authentic expressiveness that students find outside of school. Music education will happen wherever people gather together, using whatever materials are at hand. A school is necessarily an ad-hoc society; ideally, it can be a genuine artistic community as well.