Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cellphones and Music Education (a thought?)

Next week, I meet with a committee of administrators, students, parents, and education association members to discuss next year's cellphone policy for our school district. The consensus so far, is that cellphone abuse is worse this year than it ever has been, so we're going to tighten the rules and enforce them even more. My stance is that we'll never be able to keep up with the policies that are already in place, let alone tougher ones. I believe if we talk about respect and "the right place and time", we'll have more luck and less disruptions. With all that said, here's a thought on how I could use the handsets in an educational manner.
Here are a few samples of Essential Questions I've used as of late:

  • "How does ear-training improve my playing alone and in an ensemble?"
  • "What are some different techniques for memorization of music?"
  • "Why do we review and critique our performances and the performances of others?"
  • etc...

My cellphone, an LG Shine, has texting, camera, and audio/video recording capabilities. What if students could use their handsets to record their practicing during the school day (since computers or our advanced recording equipment is bulky and time-consuming to set up)? What if they used Twitter to keep track of practice at home? I realize video recording isn't available on every cellphone, but recording video would give students an insight on their posture, bow grip, performance quirks, and so on. I have a post in draft about using Skype for distance-learning lessons, but there's nothing stopping a student from placing a cellphone on a music stand (on a call) with me as they play from home, right?

Handheld electronics are not going away, and the sooner we all realize that, the less stressful we will be. How can we change policies for the better and start to take advantage of the portable nature of these tools?


  1. I saw your post about cell phone policy over on Will's blog. What did your committee come up with? I'd love to know and pass it along to our administrators.

  2. @Jeff I'll be addressing our proposed policy in a blog post soon. (I want to either get permission to discuss it, or wait until after we vote on it in a faculty meeting).
    Thanks for your interest!

  3. Music Education through cellphone is a great idea. It is an easier way of learning music education. One new way is music education online.