ICT in the music classroom: how theories of multimodality can illuminate classroom practice

NM Breeze

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Music ICT tools have been shown to have many positive benefits when used in primary and secondary classrooms, such as creativity, higher achievement, accessibility and links to pupils' own lived musical experiences. However, this increased use of ICT in the music curriculum has prompted some observers to call for new ways of investigating the classroom. Having previously been employed to illuminate practice in science and English classrooms, theories of multimodality would appear to have much to contribute to the investigation of the music classroom with ICT, owing to the inherently multimodal nature of music software and group discourse. This paper reports on a recently completed PhD study in which a multimodal perspective was used as a prism with which to investigate pupil composing. Pupils aged 10-11 composed used a computer with sequencing software linked to a music keyboard. Digital video was employed as the primary data collection medium together with supporting methods. A computer-based tool was specially developed to allow the data to be categorised, thematically linked and presented in terms of linguistic, aural, visual, spatial and gestural 'modes'. This allowed analysis at the micro level to be undertaken of the pupil discourse revealing much about the mediating effects of the learning environment upon the composing process. A key finding from the study was that the multimodal theoretical perspective revealed aspects of the music classroom setting that often remain tacit and hence unexplored. These aspects included the use of space in the classroom and how it encouraged or precluded group collaboration; the teacher’s allocation of group ‘roles’ and the time allowed for musical experimentation. In particular, the perspective allowed for an in-depth examination of the transformation of the musical ideas and a consideration of the origins of these ideas to be made.
Translated title of the contributionICT in the music classroom: how theories of multimodality can illuminate classroom practice
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCAL '09 'Learning in Digital Worlds' Brighton, UK
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Conference Proceedings/Title of Journal: Refereed abstracts were published in an abstract book, which was available at the conference
Medium/genre: Computer assisted learning
Conference Organiser: Elsevier


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