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date: 19 February 2020

Commentary: Media, Music, and Education

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides an overview of Section 6 of the Oxford Handbook of Music Education, Volume 2. The section is the first among music education handbooks to focus on media. The authors highlight the increasing recognition of the importance of media both as a field of study and as a set of practices shaped by technology.

Keywords: music education, mass media, technology

This represents the first collection devoted to media among the music education handbooks. The authors make clear the emerging recognition of the importance and value of media both as a field of study and as a set of practices shaped by technology. Representing a global cross-section from Australia to Finland to the United States, the ideas help practitioners in our field make more informed decisions as we acknowledge the influence of media in our lives. Some supportive media is also available on the website that accompanies this handbook.

Although media involve cutting-edge ideas, the digital age has deep roots. My chapter (6.2) provides a narrative tracing of the arc of media in society and education over 100 years, from media to mass media, to new media. I characterize music education as operating within a postperformance world and suggest that attention to this reality allows a expansion and resituating of practices.

Evan S. Tobias (chapter 6.3) explores the ways that video games and virtual worlds occasion learning. Presenting a view of video games as digital literacies, he reviews the background and current scope of games. Tobias builds a strong case for “modding” music education through continued research in this area.

The educational advantages of ensembles working with generative media systems are presented by Andrew R. Brown and Steven C. Dillon (chapter 6.4) in their chapter. Focusing on the jam2jam system they created, which provides an easy entry point for networked jamming, they outline new activities that add cultural and pedagogical value through digital media.

(p. 516) Finally, S. Alex Ruthmann and David G. Hebert (chapter 6.5) explore some of the ways that music learning and new media exist in virtual and online environments. Their chapter delves deep into some of the themes and concepts inherent in this new realm, some of the qualities of virtuality to be found, and the implications of online and hybrid approaches to learning. Informal learning and social media are explored, including emerging models of musicianship found in social networks.

The parts of this handbook provide a glimpse into some of the many ways music education will continue to expand and grow with and through media. By grounding theoretical and philosophical ideas with empirical findings, this part frames questions for researchers to explore, as well as avenues educators will pave. Given the richness of the horizon, we hope learners will find themselves on journeys that we can only dream of, in spaces we can only imagine, creating work in ways we will hardly believe.