Peer Learning and digital tools in higher music education

Aslaug Louise Sletta Norwegian Academy of Music

Digital and collaborative competencies are both considered to be important in 21st century higher music education. To a certain extent, digital tools are already part of the students’ everyday educational life, through learning platforms, e-mail, apps and so on. However, there is little research about how digital tools can contribute to enhance working methods in performing subjects, where the music and the love of the art is in the center.

The present study looks at peer learning and digital tools within the chamber music subject in higher music education. In this mandatory, performing subject, the students themselves are responsible for planning and carrying out rehearsals before a concert, which requires them to act as their own teachers. The aim of the study is to try out new pedagogical and digital tools, and learn about how the institution can facilitate the chamber music course even better.

In the project, teachers and researchers with artistic and pedagogical competencies are collaborating about developing and exploring new forms of learning. At the same time, the project is encouraging active learning through students’ critical reflection about their own chamber music practice, and hereby stimulates independency.

A handful of undergraduate chamber music ensembles are participating in the study, playing classical music, as well as improvising. The tools the research team is trying out are a) information videos with concrete tasks, organized as flipped classroom, b) short videos of the ensembles’ rehearsals, recorded by the students themselves, shared on a digital platform called Yammer c) reflection conversations – both face to face and through Yammer.

The research team acknowledges that technology should not be part of teaching and learning in higher music education purely because it is technology – digital tools must always have a pedagogical purpose. In the present project, pedagogical purposes are maintained by blending digital tools and peer learning. This blended learning process will also be a subject for careful consideration of its ethics in the present project.