Composing collaboratively online during COVID with pre-service music teachers in Aberdeen and Melbourne

Year: 2021

Author: Wilson, Emily

Type of paper: Individual Paper

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for music teachers across all levels of education including pre-service secondary music teacher education. The sudden shift to online learning and teaching presented many challenges but also unexpected opportunities. One of these has been using digital music technology tools for creating, which in addition to their ongoing popularity in schools in recent years, seems to have been efficacious during the pandemic. We have observed this in our work as music teacher educators in Aberdeen, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia. In response to the lack of access to the usual music studios we teach in, pre-service secondary music teachers undertook a collaborative online composition project: My Life in Isolation: A World Apart or Same Difference? This experience was facilitated using Soundtrap for Education, a cloud-based digital audio workstation. 10,427 miles and 11 hours apart, pre-service teachers worked in groups of five with a mix of Aberdeen and Melbourne in each group. They gathered footage from Melbourne and Aberdeen to represent their life in isolation and then created a music and moving image project. This research was conceived as a collaborative self-study project undertaken by us as music teacher educators. In this presentation, we examine our experiences of facilitating this project and share project outcomes. We discuss the following emergent themes: benefits and challenges of the project, and the affordances of Soundtrap. We argue for greater attention to the affordances of digital collaborative music technology tools to facilitate real-world composing projects.