Song, D., & Kim, P. (2016, October). Collaborative music classroom with mobile apps. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the 2016 AECT (Association for Education Communications and Technology) International Convention. Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Collaborative Music Classroom with Mobile Apps
Donggil Song (Sam Houston State University, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Paul Kim (Stanford University)
Offers the opportunity to move on from where they are in skills, understanding, and imagination (Pitts, 2000)
Gives freedom to explore musical sounds and patterns, and to select musical expressions from a variety of possibilities (Rozman, 2009)
Encourages to have creativity through
supporting decision making skills and the desirability of individual expression
overcoming the fear of making mistakes by de-emphasizing the right and wrong responses (Balkin, 1990)
Yes, this is why it is widely contended that the formal music education should include developing creative activities for students (Dale, 2008; Running, 2008)
Teacher survey (Kokotsaki, 2011) – Teachers were confident that all children can develop in creative ways with the appropriate music instruction and guidance
The level to which children identify and develop their musical creative potential is related with the opportunities that the environments provide for creative expression (Koutsoupidou & Hargreaves, 2009)
Encouraging children to experience different styles of music is desirable for improving their creativity (Green, 2006)
Musical Creativity. Can it be taught?
The response of students in music classroom is unenthusiastic in many cases (Green, 2006)
This is because that many of traditional classrooms tend to focus on the learning performance rather than the creative process (Odena & Welch, 2009)
Traditional music classrooms are not supporting students’ creative music activities partly due to the lack of resources for appropriate music activities
There are many schools in underserved areas that have not enough competent music teachers, infrastructure, and robust music programs/curriculum
learnable, teachable, and crucial to human development
learnable, teachable, and crucial to human development
Give the opportunity to experience creativity
Much cheaper than real instruments.
Give a chance to explore multiple musical instruments.
Investigates the possibility of a music workshop that utilizes mobile music apps in schools where there is a lack of music education resources
Includes offering the children opportunities to improvise their own music within group settings which might be useful to identify their potential for music and musical creativity
Contribution to the Society
useful & desirable
“the process of generating new ideas in music without any censorship or editing… improvisation is regarded as a spontaneous instrumental performance, while composition can involve transcription, arrangement, and scoring” (Hargreaves, 1999, p. 29)
Very strong support to creative thinking because it motivates children to use their imagination and their decision-making skills to create music that is original and displays an analogous level of musical structure (Koutsoupidou & Hargreaves, 2009)
In order to create music, we need to determine medium (e.g. instrumental, vocal), material (e.g. sound, made by the body and/or other materials like wood, paper etc.), musical skills, starting point (e.g. an event presented by musical stimulus), duration, and other implicit rules (Rozman, 2009)
“Very good for breaking the ice but I’m not sure about the actual musical benefit. … Their musical background is close to nothing.”
Random playing (no guidance)
→ Emphasized keeping a steady beat, guided the beat with clapping
Guitar app: definitely the best. Easy to use and easy to change notes
“It was interesting to see that some students played all of the strings together in a chord while others just touched one string at a time.”
Piano app: too difficult to use. Creates discord unless the chord is right (was not used at the 2nd workshop)
Shaker app: “the variety of shakers was good. Need a better app (better responsive) though.”
Drum app: set the beat dominating the song
Prepared 3 instrumental songs
“What kind of emotions can you feel? When can the song be used for?”
They had a hard time deciding when and where the music could be used. They came up with action scenes for the exciting song and sad farewells for the sad song
We were not able to give them enough time for the lyric writing (20-25 minutes)
“There were a couple of groups who dealt with the lyrics well. Some groups did a rap song with some rhymes and with the background music.”
Had a trouble in playing together → Emphasized keeping a steady beat (2nd workshop): Played in a (somewhat) steady rhythm together
Speakers were needed
It is extremely difficult for the students without any musical background to produce a song with lyrics
“Playing the instruments to compose a song was a huge task. Their songs are okay but not that great.” “We were too focused on producing a decent song. … we need to lower the expectations. …”
“It [the main challenge] was a combination of things like … write a song, play the instruments, phones were not that responsive to play songs with the beat, and so on.”
For better lyric writing, having several instrumental songs for participants would be a good idea so they choose the music and write lyrics with their preferred music
We can have lyrics prepared in advance and have students add sounds to underlined words
“There was also a significant difference in the playing between the rehearsal and the concert. It was difficult for them to play their own songs in front of the audience.”
“When I listened to them practice, some of the groups had a nice instrumental song, but they fell apart in the concert.”
Involves peer-learning, which includes discussion, watching, listening to and imitating each other free from the expert supervision and guidance, which might make a strict and possibly uncomfortable atmosphere (Green, 2006).
In the workshop, students can create their own music through a process of experimentation, trial and error, and sharing musical ideas and collaborating on music projects
Use of Technology
“The entire process was conducted on phones and was therefore better compared to other workshops where we relied on networks.”
The students were interested in the mobile devices and music apps, and actively participated in exploring the apps and testing its sound
Suggestion: “Apps that could record the things you make, and apps that could play a phrase and the student could repeat it and check if it matches.”
Collaborative efforts from everyone were essential to create and play music together. One member can totally decrease the group performance
In collaborative music classrooms, students learn interactional and negotiation skills, how to listen and respond, and communication ways in social context (Sawyer, 2006)
“This workshop is like a trigger. Many of the kids have an experience of singing but haven’t had any experience in this kind of creative activity.”
“It sparked an idea in them that they are somehow interested in making music.”
“If the students are asked to perform after undergoing probably two workshops, they might do it much better and faster.”
Is music workshop using mobile music apps useful enough for children with no or low level of music background to learn and play music?
Is there a significant difference in self-assessment of musical creativity between prediction and posttest?
Is there a significant difference in peer assessment of musical creativity between prediction and posttest?
Is there a significant relationship in musical creativity between teacher, self- and peer assessment?
What is the relationship between self-ratings, instructor ratings, and peer ratings of overall teaching effectiveness?
The students fill in a pre-questionnaire, which includes self- and peer assessment of expected musical creativity, and their teachers also score the students’ expected musical creativity
The students learn and play mobile phone apps in a series of music workshop
At the end of the workshop, the students make and play their own music with group members
A post-questionnaire that includes evaluation of musical creativity based on their group performance will be filled out by the participants and teachers
Three different forms of evaluation can be used as follows: (a) children’s self-evaluations, (b) peer evaluations, and (c) expert and music workshop instructors’ evaluations
At the end of the final composition session, a questionnaire can be administered to each child
The students take a creativity measurement test and evaluate the usefulness of the mobile applications for music learning
Differences between prediction and evaluation score will be analyzed
The usefulness of mobile applications for music and the relationship between the creativity measurement test scores and musical creativity scores will also be analyzed
– The student is prompted to perform a series of improvisations based on imaginative scenes, such as a frog jumping on lily pads, or a rocket launching into space.
– The student responds to these prompts using an instrument or their voice in a microphone. The resulting musical improvisations are recorded and scored for extensiveness, flexibility, originality, and syntax, as well as for an overall musical creativity score.
– Paper-and-pencil tests provided in both verbal and figural versions.
– Subjects are asked to guess cause or consequences, provide ideas for product improvement, or suggest unusual uses for a variety of prompts
Creative thinking in music
Task 1: the student is asked to play a steady beat on the drum
Task 2: requires the student to create an answer rhythm on the drum
Task 3: the tester performs a steady beat pattern on the claves and asks the student to improvise a drum rhythm
Task 4: the tester plays several two-measure melodies on the bells, and asks the student to respond to each melody with an answering tune on the black bells only
Task 5: the tester plays a simple C-G pattern and then asks the student to improvise a tune on the white bells only
Task 6: requires the participant to make up a piece showing how she or he feels during a thunderstorm
Music improvisational creativity
30m X 2
Future Research Design
10m + α
1 administrator per 1 student
Local + Universal
(gender, academic record, …)
Self- and Peer Evaluation
Self-assessment would be a viable means to nurture and understand student achievement as expressed through composition, and creativity is one area in which the dynamics of self-evaluation have been explored (Silvia & Phillips, 2004)
Knowing the children’s predictions of others’ performance may allow a clearer interpretation of their evaluation of their own performance (Seddon & O’Neill, 2001)
Measurement Process (Priest, 2006)
Students can be asked to use their own definition of creativity when making assessments, or to write why they selected a certain composition as the most creative.
After rating their composition on creativity, students were asked to answer why they feel their composition meets this level of creativity.
Statements from the students’ writing about their own creativity were placed into the following categories or factors:
(a) growth and discovery; (b) experimentation; (c) critical analysis; (d) temporal; (e) optimistic; (f) pessimistic; (g) positive; (h) negative; (i) audiation; (j) originality; (k) persistence; (l) effort without clear purpose; (m) effort organized around a particular goal; (n) pitch; (o) rhythm; (p) articulation; (q) tone quality and breath support; (r) length of composition; (s) dynamics; (t) phrasing; (u) songlike or a desire to make it singable; (v) expressive intent beyond title; (w) performance; and (x) expressive intent in title
Future Research Design
Make a contribution
to the society
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