The goal of this project was to immerse students in musical concepts through interactive multimedia technology, providing them course-specific experiences with sound. Georgetown's music classes serve a diverse group of students. They come from a variety of departments; some are majors; some play musical instruments; some are simply interested listeners. Due to this diversity of skill sets, it can be challenging to present musicological concepts. Many students feel that speaking critically about music requires having "talent" or having been born with a "good ear."
A solution to this challenge is to use familiar platforms and to carefully sync their engagement with Georgetown's music courses. To do this, Principal Investigator Ben Harbert and his ITEL team are designing computer and tablet applications that engage students in musical concepts related to their courses. This project extends work that Harbert has done with the ITEL Tablet Cohort in Spring 2014 in which he developed applications to animate musicological concepts tied to specific recordings for his Jazz History course. Harbert is now taking this to a new level by including the entire music faculty and an outside collaborator in developing more applications. The goal of this ITEL project is to immerse students in musical concepts through interactive multimedia technology, providing them course-specific experiences with sound.
The applications being designed for this ITEL project will allow students to explore sound with their own devices in ways that deepen their engagement with key terminology, music theories, and acoustic phenomena. They have the potential to bridge experience gaps among students so that critical musicological ideas can be engaged by all, regardless of previous experience with music. This project seeks to study how visual metaphors aid in students' understanding of music and how students can manipulate the visualizations to explore music in ways that relate directly to Georgetown music classes.
Along with developing applications, this project is fostering faculty collaboration by generating a discussion of music pedagogy among the music faculty: What are best practices in visualizing music? What are fundamental music concepts that students are learning in Georgetown music courses and how are they learning them? What modes of interaction make deep connections to course material? The development of applications is ongoing in 2015.