Face-To-Face and Distance Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Lessons from the Preparation of Professional Musicians

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Journal of Music, Technology & Education

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In this article, it is suggested that academic programmes in higher education can benefit from focusing on procedural (or practical and phenomenal) and propositional (or theoretical and abstract) knowledge. The preparation of professional musicians is particularly relevant to this issue because musicians’ focus is often on procedural knowledge gained through making music. Accordingly, two approaches to preparing professional musicians are contrasted – face-to-face and distance education – and these illustrate how the transmission and acquisition of procedural knowledge works. The first, face-to-face teaching and learning, is thought about figuratively in terms of an artist who apprentices pupils or disciples and leads them to become exponents of particular musical practices. The second, distance teaching and learning in music as practiced worldwide, is informed particularly by metaphors of the web, factory and boutique that invoke, respectively, notions of connectivity, production and consumption in music education. The role of technology in mediating the process of teacher and student interaction in distance education is explored. Implications of the analysis for distance teaching and learning in higher education are sketched, with particular reference to the practical case of a hypothetical music school.