MUED4002 Lecture Reflections

This semester I will be keeping a regular blog here each week on the topics which are covered in my MUED4002- Technology in Music Education course at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Lecture 1A – July 27th

The place of music in 21st Century Education. Social Media, PLNs

Instead of having a lecture for this day we were given the task to watch our lecture James Humberstone’s MOOC and write a blog about our thoughts.

To view this blog post click HERE

Lecture 1B – July 29th


This lecture explored the possibilities of composition using sequencers and Digital Audio Workstations (DAW’s) and how the templates and strategies behind it. Some of the DAW’s explored in the lecture were Garageband, Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, Cubase and Ableton Live.

James had us playing around with Garageband during this class to provide those who were new to it to get a feel for the program. However most of my peers definitely know the program inside out from years of using it. Exploring Garageband in class was definitely a great idea as its interface is similar to other DAW’s such as Logic Pro X and Garageband would definitely be the most realistic DAW inside a generic music education classroom in terms of the accessibility and difficulty of usage.

Garageband has many features in it which make it the perfect tool for composition in Music classrooms. Its ability to record via the device’s inbuilt microphone or inputed microphones, ability to use preloaded loops or to use the midi sequencer to input notes yourself. Garageband also has the option of using traditional notation which not all DAW’s can do.  All theses features can be used as tool to scaffold and template composition for students.

However after this lecture I felt like I should know more about Ableton Live as it is not only a DAW used for recording and composition but it can also be used a performance tool and I’m sure in the near future it will become more common for students to use it to perform in schools.

Lecture 2A – August 3rd

Skills 2: Notation software: illustrations, worksheets and quality resources. Copyright

In this lecture we were able to explore some of the notation software currently available in the market today. Some of these include Sibelius, Finale, Dorico, Musescore and Noteflight. As music education programs in schools improve more students have the opportunity to compose music using these notation softwares. Many independent and private schools in Sydney are fortunate enough to have access to notation software such as Sibelius on school computers however not all school have the same accessibility to these education tools particularly in the government system.

Now as an educator and also even when I was a high school student myself Sibelius was my choice of notation software because I was familiar with it due to my school having it on school computers. The upside was that I had access to this amazing compositional and educational tool, however the downside was I only had access to it at school. I am about to begin my practicum experience at Northern Beaches Christian School and I have been informed that they use Noteflight from year 7 for their composition tasks when dealing with trdaditional western music notation and I’m quite curious to see the students deal with it. Noteflight is a free online program so for schools it is quite a useful notational software. Unlike my experience with Sibelius at my school students at NBCS will be able to access Noteflight from anywhere as long as they have internet. This is definitely an advantage any music educator should consider. However as students develop into more mature and experienced composers as musicians, we must consider the limitations of free software such as noteflight.


We were also informed about copyright laws in Australia during the lecture as it is vital knowledge to have as future music educators. As musicians and as educators our practise of teaching should be done LEGALLY always. However there are many “grey areas” with cases which may contradict two laws. An example many instrumental tutors make is downloading music off IMSLP which is not technically public domain in Australia but is in other countries.

Here are the two main rules of copyright laws in Australia in regarding music:

  • Any work that was published in the lifetime of the author who died before 1 January 1955, is out of copyright
  • Any work that was published in the lifetime of the author who died after 31 December 1954, will be out of copyright 70 years after the author’s death

Lecture 2B – August 5th

Skills 3: Technology in performance and recording. Basic editing and mastering including video

Lecture 3A – August 10th

Skills 4. It’s all about the format

Lecture 3B – August 12th

Teaching with technology. Design and Instructional Design. Aural drilling and music theory.

Introducing the flipped classroom of the 21st Century, or the MOOC of the future. Which is your preferred BL? Hours of classroom time and improved differentiation can be achieved through use of these latest technologies. However, teachers can also cancel out a lot of their own good work through poor instructional design.

Lecture 11A – October 12th

The maker movement and other such isms

The maker movement and other such isms

What is a synthesizer and how does it work? Can we actually make analogue and digital instruments ourselves and where does musical creativity actually end? MIDI and OSC to the next level.

Working toward pitching your negotiated projects.

Lecture 11B – October 14th

1-to-1 computing focusing on laptops in Music Education & Tablet computing and BYOD

The options with Mac and Windows laptops. Freeware and open source. LMSes. Designing Wikis.

Tablet computing and BYOD.

iPad or iFad? Many schools are investing in these new devices and little research has been done on possible benefits in education. A review of the research that is out there, and a live Google Hangout conference with experts in the field.

Negotiated project lift pitches.

Lecture 12A – October 19th

What’s real? & Performance technologies and technology for performance.

What’s real?

Following your prac placements, how realistic is the kind of integration of technology that we’ve been looking at in Sydney schools? Will you be the generation of leaders?

Performance technologies and technology for performance.

Looking at using technology to perform from sublime synthesisers to ridiculous digital DJing decks, loop pedals and other interfaces. Oh, and how to teach world musics.

Lecture 12B – October 21st

In todays lecture we were exposed to Stephan Heppell’s perspective on the whole BYOD concept in schools. Heppell strongly advocates for BYOD and the general usage of technology in learning as he suggests it is how the 21st century education should be and will be.

Because of the technological advances with technology and in particular with the internet, the role of the teacher has changed in the 21st century . Knowledge isn’t always held by libraries or teachers and any student with a device connected to the internet can access an enormous amount of knowledge through it. Our lecturer James Humberstone used a fantastic analogy to further point this out. He told us that his son had a leg set he had not built yet however due to the process of cleaning his house the instruction manual had been misplaced. Obviously making lego without the instruction manual is extremely hard however nowadays the lego website has the instruction manual to every single lego set made. Back in the days when James would’ve grown up with lego, knowledge only would have been held in the instruction manual and by the makers at Lego who created the instruction manual.

During the lecturer I was reflecting on how this idea is reflected in my university experience. The best example I thought up was the process of studying an instrument, in my case the cello. Traditionally students would have only gained knowledge of the pieces through their lessons with their teachers and through books however now many analysis’ (often thesis’) can be found online in university databases. Through sites like Youtube videos of others performing the pieces can also be viewed to provided further insight. Site such as Youtube also often contain masterclasses, documentaries and other useful videos which aren’t solely performance videos. Professional recordings have also become more accessible than every with streaming services such as Spotify. Through the combination of using all these things students like myself at the Conservatorium have a wealth of resources available and easily accessible which can assist in studying an instrument.

This idea also applies with students even from a young age accessing sites such as Youtube to gain knowledge in “composing” genres of music such as electronic music. Tutorial videos explain how to use composition tools such as Logic Pro X, Ableton Live and other DAW’s bridging the gap allowing young students to compose their own music. As teachers we can provide flipped learning by making these tutorial videos for students to access and approaching teaching in that way rather than the traditional “standing up the front” way.


Lecture 13A – October 26th

Tutorials on task 2

This tutorial was used to work on our Negotiated Digital Creative Projects. Unfortunately I had a chiropractic appointment and could not make the class. However my peers were able to have assistance from James Humberstone in the lab.

Lecture 13B – October 28th


In this lecture James gave us a recap over all the previous lecture topics and the content covered in those lectures.

James also talked to us about efficiency and time management, two things which are crucial as future music educators. One of the interesting theories he mentioned was the Get Things Done (GTD) theory. The GTD theory is where one has to ask themselves if a certain task can be done right at that moment. If the answer is no they must either eliminate, incubate or reference it. If the answer is yes they do it, delegate it or defer it.

James suggested two programs which are helpful with efficiency and time management, These two programs are Wunderlust and Evernote both which I already had downloaded and used for my Practicum teaching experience!

Presentation of Learning – November 18th

To read about my final reflection of the Presentation of Learning evening and the MUED4002 – Technology in Music Education course as a whole click the link below:

POL + Final review of MUED4002




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