Spencer’s Lessons: Teacher or Technology?

I’ve spent the better part of 20 years talking about technology-enhanced music making and talked up the value of technology as a tool for music making and music education.  There is a huge tendency in the tech world to believe that every learning activity can be reduced to a technology solution – a notion I still reject.

Stats from the music products industry (NAMM)  have shown that about 22% of the population will attempt to self-teach.  This market is shared by DVDs, software, web sites, TV shows and various method books.  All of these CAN be used by a dedicated self-learner to achieve proficiency.  For a 7 year old – these techniques in their current state have about as much chance of delivering a potent experience as nothing but TV to teach language (it might help, but is not sufficient).  Thus, any ideas of plopping my (or most any kid), in front of the most well-constructed program yet devised, are not likely to deliver on the promise of a fulfilling music-making life.

So, if not computer technology, then what?  How about real people!  Yes, them – the forgotten organic technology capable of incredible diversity and flexibility – well, usually. Then, we add technology as appropriate – and voila – a great recipe for helping a 7 year old to achieve music literacy.

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