Understanding harmony and technology in music education

Whitelock, Denise; Holland, Simon and Howard, Patricia (1995). Understanding harmony and technology in music education. In: Proceedings of the ICTE 1995: the 12th International Conference on Technology and Education (Sechrest, T.; Thomas, M. and Estes, N. eds.), University of Texas, Texas, pp. 382–384.


This study set out to evaluate the use of a particular computer interface for the teaching of musical harmony to school children aged between 13 and 14 years. The study looked at a number of specialised technical issues concerning music education and human computer interaction, but in this paper we will focus on some of the broader issues that emerged. One general hypothesis the study tested was that an appropriate computer interface can encourage students to discover harmony by empirical enquiry, within a conventional classroom setting. We believed that the computer software could become incorporated into the music lesson and be seen by the pupils as just another instrument which assisted with the learning of harmony. In general, the use of computers in music education can in some respects have advantages over the "real instruments" in that lack of instrumental fluency need not impede progress and hence decrease motivation of the less musically able students. A secondary advantage may be that computer enthusiasts take music lessons more seriously.

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