You are on page 1of 3

MUSICWEB: DEVELOPING NEW TOOLS FOR MUSIC EDUCATION, USING

WIDE-AREA NETWORKS AND HYPERMEDIA TECHNOLOGY

What is MusicWeb?
MusicWeb is a consortial project to develop the resources, technical infrastructure and demonstration
applications to provide a well-structured learning environment for diverse body of students in Music.
MusicWeb aims to improve quality of music education, by exploiting multimedia and distributed network
technology. The potential of which, also for distance learning, has already been demonstrated in previous
projects on national levels at the partner institutions. MusicWeb intends to support music education by
offering a well-structured learning environment with a strong emphasis on musical relevance. The modular
design and reusability of tools and materials should appeal to young people, music professionals, teachers
and students regardles s of their technological background. MusicWeb targets all levels of music education:
not only students and teachers in higher music education institutes will be involved, but also young people
in primary and secondary schools and music professionals in the framework of continuing (adult)
education.
While there have been instances of collaborative development work between music departments and
conservatoires within national boundaries, trans-national collaboration in the development of common
music-educational materials has not so far been systematically attempted. The partners in this consortium
believe that great benefits can arise from pooling the experience and expertise, which they have gained in
music-education and web-based training software of many types, in distance teaching and learning
techniques and in designing music applications for networks.

What is the general aim of MusicWeb?


The general aim of this "proof-of-concept" project is to develop common network access to music-
educational materials, which will be designed to facilitate integration into a wide variety of music courses
and independent learning scenarios, and to unlock the specialist skills and resources (such as specialist
collections of instruments) available within individual institutions so that they can be generally exploited to
the general educational benefit of the community at large. Common design, common modes of access and
common management of materials will lead to valuable cross-fertilisation, yet still enable the distinctive
characteristics of the courses offered by individual institutions to be preserved.
The project is supported by the European Commission through the CONNECT programme.

What is the CONNECT Programme?


In 1999, the European Commission has provided support for preparatory actions aimed at developing the
links between the areas of culture, education and training with the help of research and new technologies.
These actions are financed by a new budget item, called "CONNECT-Innovation and Connection of
communit y programmes". CONNECT has been one of the programmes in the field of culture established
for one year in the preparatory phase of the CULTURE 2000 Programme of the European Commission.

What are the specific objectives of MusicWeb?


The project has the following specific objectives:
• to develop new pedagogical paradigms for the fields of aural training, analysis and harmony, using
existing technology in a networked environment
• to design reusable modules, resources and tools for music professionals as a source for continuing
education
• to design reusable modules, resources and tools for both teachers and students in institutions for
music education and training
• to design reusable modules, resources and tools for young people in primary and secondary schools
• to make learning with this system a primarily musical experience, with the emphasis on the relation
between practice and theory
• to develop authoring guidelines outlining standard methodologies for designing courseware-materials
within the MusicWeb context
• to integrate MusicWeb with the existing curricula of institutions for music education and training
• to establish a distributed pool of multimedia servers optimised for handling time-based media
• to design and implement a common access system to a range of music -educational packages
• to present and disseminate results via scholarly and professional journals and at the appropriate
international conferences
• to add a European dimension to the already existing provisions in this field on national level, by
linking these provisions on an international level

Content
The initial resource collection already comprises several hundred notated and performed examples of
classical and contemporary music. These are then embedded in a series of demonstration packages which
concentrate on core musical skills, such as aural training, musical analysis and score reading. There is also
a package which unfolds the specialist area of 20th century use of the human voice in electro -acoustic
computer music developed and realised at IRCAM in Paris.

Innovative technical infrastructure


The project requires the design and implementation of a framework for storing, accessing and re-using the
music-educational content. This framework can also be used as a portal for a broad range of users to whom
the project is addressed. This entails the integration of innovative user tools and educational and media
metadata within a sophisticated information management environment.

Pedagogical considerations.
The project provides the means whereby new modes of learning and the delivery of learning are developed
for the study of music. The emergence of universal networking makes much wider dissemination of good
practice developed for local circumstances possible, and enables self-paced, open learning, which can
provide higher standards of learning-outcome than traditional methods. The consortium's view is that,
because of extreme variations in initial skill levels and over-large class sizes, traditional class-based
offerings are now inefficient and ineffective, and that independent computer-based learning can provide a
high-quality, flexible alternative. A number of surveys have indicated that a computer-based solution,
which offers self-paced independent learning, should be implemented in order to sustain and develop
student confidence. This would benefit students' future selection of options and enhance their attainment
levels in further study.

Which are the project partners in MusicWeb?


• The Royal Conservatory of Den Haag is responsible for the management and co-ordination of the
project. Den Haag will develop educational applications and authoring tools, and set up and maintain
the central multimedia server.
• The Department of Music of Glasgow University co-ordinates the technical side of the project.
Existing servers will be linked to the central server in Den Haag. Together with the IICM Graz,
Glasgow University is adapting existing products for learning technologies (Hyperwave information
server and GENT LE web based training environment, both developed by the IICM) to the MusicWeb
environment. Together with Darmstadt University, technologies regarding structured music (SMDL-
MuTaTED and GUIDO) will be integrated. Glasgow is also co-ordinating the evaluation and
dissemination of the project results.
• The Hochschule fur Musik und Theater Hannover is developing content material, specifically for
young students and children for use in primary and secondary education.
• The IRCAM Research Institute in Paris (Institut de Recherche et Coordination
Acoustique/Musique) is one of the world's largest institutes devoted to musical creation with new
technologies, developing software for music composition and multimedia tools for education. It
recently established a digital library of contemporary music documents (books, scores, sound archives,
etc.). IRCAM is contributing educational materials on twentieth century contemporary music.
• The IICM Institute in Graz (Institute for Information Processing and Computer Supported New
Media) has developed the Hyperwave information server and the GENTLE web based training
environment, which are the core of the MusicWeb structure. Together with Glasgow University, the
IICM is adapting their products to the MusicWeb environment.
• The Technical University of Darmstadt is concerned with the integration of their GUIDO music
representation language with the MusicWeb environment. Together with Glasgow University, they are
integrating technologies regarding structured music (SM the DL-MuTaTED) and connection to
GUIDO.

For more information about MusicWeb, please contact Mr Karst de Jong (project coordinator) or Mr
Martin Prchal at the Royal Conservatory The Hague,
Juliana van Stolberglaan 1,
2595 CA Den Haag, the Netherlands,
telephone: + 31-70-381 4251, fax: + 31-70-385 3941,
email: karst@koncon.nl
web-site: http://www.pads.ahds.ac.uk/MusicWeb