The contribution of technology to the teaching of music listening : historical perspectives and contemporary developments

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Hoplaros, Georgios Pandelis

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The purpose of the current study is to examine the contribution of technology to the teaching of music listening, to present a comprehensive account of the pertinent educational materials that have been developed in the past to assist teachers during the music listening activity, and to introduce a software application to make it easier for teachers to create music listening guides. The role of technology in the teaching of music listening can be examined in four major historical periods, each roughly corresponding to a quarter of the twentieth century. During the early 1900’s, the invention of the first devices that could reproduce sound – the player piano and the phonograph – allowed music teachers to include music listening activities in classroom music instruction. The largest companies in the player piano and phonograph industry formed educational departments that produced a plethora of educational materials that helped to spread the music appreciation movement throughout the country. The advent of the radio, followed by the television, constitutes the second historical period to be examined. Both inventions contributed to the establishment of music listening as an integral part of classroom instruction by broadcasting educational programs on a national scale, mostly in the form of youth concerts. Broadcasting companies also issued teacher guides and student workbooks to be used along with the programs. The third period in question concerns the second half of the past century, when several improvements in audio equipment made the production of extensive recorded listening libraries possible. At the same time, the development of new devices enabled the production of educational audiovisual materials, such as films, filmstrips, slides, and transparencies. The accessibility of personal computers marks the fourth and final historical period to be discussed. The new technology allowed the development of educational software for music listening. Most listening materials developed by publishers to accompany the new technologies dictate both the music literature and the musical concepts to be introduced to students. The author has programmed a pertinent computer application to help teachers create their own listening material - specifically, animated versions of listening maps. A description of the computer application and its capabilities are presented in the final chapter of the study.




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