How will education technology empower teachers to improve students?

Now that video is the dominant form of media on mobile, how will music education use it? Listening algorithms, music theory apps and note naming games have ruled strong for most of this decade, but how do we build upon these outdated tools that isolate students and teachers? Learning an instrument is already solitary. Can technology be designed to combat this problem instead of support it?

The next step for music education will involve a myriad of these now obsolete tools, wrapped into a platform to help teachers to connect and teach more powerfully.

Although listening algorithms and older technologies offer a great way to build skills, they don’t help students gain the 10x improvement that great chemistry with a teacher does. What if we built upon that student-teacher relationship?

So what shift in music education could create 100 times the improvement? How could we measure that?


Music lessons and practice are about building focus and listening skills. They are also socially isolated. What if technology could connect students, teachers and parents in a way that promotes studio culture and social accountability? Each student would be accountable through their link to their teacher, to their friends in the studio and to themselves.

What if music education studios would share in the highs and lows of learning an instrument? How would that effect student confidence and how long they study music?


Once a student can play a piece, does that mean they have mastered all the music concepts and techniques? Could they teach that piece to someone? In our studio we focus so much on mastery that the majority of things I say in lessons are questions or one liner improvements.

Have we seen that pattern before?

How is this motive related to that?

Why is your wrist higher here?

Now you just need…

Keeping students in a constant state of deep thought produces more independence and creativity. What if students used video as a way to track their growth and mastery over time? How does a video of them struggling through a piece of music they now breeze through change their understanding of the learning process?


Most music teachers have made personalization the number one stated trait in their teaching philosophy for years. This is nothing new. Can technology facilitate higher levels of personalization for students learning music or in public education?

I believe this is the one element in education that will flip the whole industry. In the classroom, it makes it very difficult to personalize education for 30 students. At the same time, studies have shown that classes with too few students also perform poorly. They lack a variety of personalities that challenge other students in novel ways.

Personalization is now achievable with digital portfolios and the actionable feedback that follows. Students can set their own pace of learning and we can use checkpoints like recitals to measure how they are growing. Patterns and insights become more clear for teachers who oversee progress and coach students through their journey.

“I want to play Frozen!”

What if students were responsible for selecting their their own pieces and programs based on their interests?

The rising movement in education is tailor-made and hyper personalized programming. One-size-fits-all is ridiculous and worn-out. Education has been wearing it since 1887. As 3D printers are printing bones, custom pharmaceuticals are targeting diseases and diets are being curated for people, we should consider what hyper personalized education would bring.


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