Limitations of Technology in Community Music
New music technologies are often promoted as tools that can enrich music learning experiences, in and out of the classroom. However, their success is context dependent rather than universally certain. This chapter examines some of the limitations that occur in facilitator-led community music activities, where project goals frequently encompass social and health-related dimensions as well as musical, and where sustainability of activities and outcomes is often a priority.
Descriptions of music composition projects in three diverse settings – from a remote village in post-war East Timor (Timor-Leste), to a school-based residency in suburban Australia – illustrate some of the limitations of new music technologies. Issues discussed include environmental capacities, workshop flow, and facilitator knowledge. While new music technologies in community music workshops are not inherently problematic, this chapter argues that their effective use requires thorough consideration of the complete environmental and social context.