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Distance Learning and Its Effect on the Future of One-on-One String Instruction

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Distance learning has increased its presence in academia, and there is a growing trend among higher education music schools to utilize distance learning in tandem with a traditional curriculum. Many instrumental pedagogues do not understand the benefits even though distance learning has been used for close to twenty years in string instruction. In higher education, the Manhattan School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music developed distance learning departments that collaborate with the Royal Danish Academy of Music and the New World Symphony Orchestra. These schools use distance learning for outreach programs, master classes, chamber music coachings and one-on-one instruction. Examining an online string teaching course and technology and media’s effect on current music instruction concludes that distance learning is most effective for experienced learners, not for children or beginners. There are many champions of this extension from traditional instrumental learning who believe this is the future of teaching. At the same time, many pedagogues and musicians are skeptical of distance learning with suspicions that it will eliminate jobs and traditional face-to-face teaching. While face-to- face instruction will always be the best method of string teaching, distance learning can supplement and enhance traditional pedagogy with a combination of high-level technology and instruction. This document pinpoints the current state of distance learning in higher education music schools and conservatories through interviews with directors and examination of distance learning offerings. Promising examples of MOOCs are discussed, but the lack of proper instruction in general education distance learning is also examined because of the questionable and variable content found on the Internet. Surveying general education distance learning resources like YouTube, Skype lessons and video learning websites shows inconsistencies in level and for-profit motivation that may not reflect quality of instruction. Due to social media and the Internet, new generations of students will be saturated in this technology, so it is time for musical pedagogues to embrace distance learning and seek ways to incorporate these innovations in their approach to teaching and learning. The author feels this must occur as a conscious approach for pedagogues to inform, get involved, and guide the future.

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  • 06/05/2019
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  • Evanston
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