WHAT IS BLENDED LEARNING FOR CLASSROOM GUITAR?
The Blended Learning instruction method is quickly gaining acceptance in academics as the ideal way to integrate technology with traditional instruction. But what the innovators of blended learning didn’t realize is that it’s most ideal application may be in the instrumental music classroom.
So what is blended learning for classroom guitar?
Blended learning is the teaching method, which combines technology in real time classroom instruction with asynchronous distance learning for student lesson review and music practice. The Consonus blended learning approach supports both teachers and students by employing audio-visual examples to teach, model, and practice musical skills both in the classroom and at home.
Consonus blended learning courseware includes access to audio-visual material at the online lesson website and physical books containing musical examples, exercises, and repertoire. PDFs of primary and supplemental course material are also available online for teachers and students to download.
Blended Learning Develops Musical Connections
Beyond just being a more efficient way to provide instructional material, blended learning for classroom guitar is the ideal way to teach music curriculum because of the way that the human brain perceives and organizes music. One of the goals in music learning is to be able understand the music we hear in terms of the musical language: Whether we’re listening to music and trying to organize and retain it; Composing music and expressing it as notation; Reading music and internally knowing what it will sound like before we play it, or; Or hearing our improvisation as it is simultaneously played on our instrument, developing the connection between our external hearing and our musical mind is a common skill of accomplished musicians.
Another term for the ability to hear and understand music in the mind, even when the physical sound isn’t present, is Audiation. Blended learning can provide a path to developing Audiation because it allows students to associate the rhythms, pitches, and harmonic progressions that they are seeing on the page, with the actual sounds that they are hearing.
Teaching with only written materials initially requires students to “decode” the pitches and rhythms of notation. Without a correct audio reference for what they are playing students sense of time and rhythmic interpretation can often be distorted. These distortions are compounded by students continuing to practice their mistakes when they don’t have a model of a correct performance.
By incorporating audio tracks and performance video with notation, correct audio/visual associations are established quickly so that students internally hear the notation that is read. This ability further develops to include audiation in improvisation and composition as well.
Classroom Guitar Students Perform Better
Some recent statistics show students in blended learning environments performed better, on average, than those learning the same material through traditional face-to-face instruction”. This instructional model not only has the benefit of more effectively developing classroom guitar student’s musical skills, but also introduces them to the educational technology that is going to be a part of their lifelong learning. In other words, blended learning is preparing students for the learning methods of the future.
In a study by The eLearning Guild, it was found that the top three reasons for using blended learning were:
Here are a few reasons that Blended Learning
is superior to traditional instruction:
- Blended learning keeps students engaged and excited. It can keep students focused for longer periods of time.
- With the component of layered learning, which is the term that we at Consonus use for differentiated instruction, classroom guitar teachers are able to accommodate students of different experience and ability levels in the same class by providing them with material that is appropriate to their individual needs. Students can simultaneously learn different concepts and skills while still playing the same exercises and pieces in class. Layered learning material is available in Consonus courseware for many lessons in the course.
- Individualized Pacing: Every student learns at a different rate. When students fall behind in class it can result in frustration and disinterest. With Blended Learning students have access to all lesson material in video format. This enables the students to review all skills they’ve been taught as frequently as necessary.
- Music Practice: When students use blended learning, practice is stimulating. It’s exciting to hear the music as it is to be played and also hear an accompaniment to what you are playing. Ensemble practice is enhanced by the students being able to hear the other parts as they play their part.
- To learn the fundamentals of improvisation, blended learning is essential. In our improvisation lesson segment, students ears will be developed by hearing the accompaniment, and hearing and learning which notes to play over chord progressions. This type of ear training development is essential. Improvisation can’t purely be taught “by the numbers”
- Another advantage to using blending learning is that it motivates hard-to-reach kids. The technology side of blended learning is often appealing to students who are not interested in learning using traditional formats. People learn in different ways and blended learning offers new options.
- Lastly, as teachers are seeing the available class time for music instruction, in some cases, becoming more limited. Blended Learning maximizes class time. Students can prepare lessons in advance outside of class with group time spent on rehearsals or providing individual correction to students.