Online Musical Collaboration: Easy as P.I.E.!

by Lindsay J. Fulcher

I often wish my students were more motivated to collaborate musically. Social collaboration is never a problem! They love to talk and share stories. But motivating them to contribute to musical decisions in the large ensemble, play chamber music or improvise in small groups can be challenging. These are skills I believe my students need because I am not going to be their teacher forever, and I want them to leave my class with the ability to collaborate musically. I want them to be able to make musical decisions and enjoy making those decisions with other musicians. In addition, collaboration is key for success within music and beyond.

In this Issue

When considering ways to both encourage collaboration and motivate my students, I think of how excited they are when they use technology. The days we spend in the computer lab, or with phones, tablets or computers in the classroom, are when students are most creative! The opportunity to use technology, especially in orchestra rehearsals where technology is not often used, seems to invigorate them. Particularly after discovering Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choirs,1 I decided to explore the intersection of musical collaboration and the Internet. Considering the amount of time I spend in online communities (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), and the amount of time I know my students are spending in online communities, I wondered how I could use these resources musically and whether my students would be interested in these forms of collaboration. My definition of “online musical collaboration” is quite broad. It ranges from sharing an online playlist to rehearsing over Skype, and everything between. I sought to identify any virtual environments that encouraged students to collaborate and interact. To continue reading the article, please download the PDF.

Lindsay Fulcher is a Ph.D. candidate in music education at the Pennsylvania State University. She works primarily with Robert Gardner as his co-teacher for undergraduate string techniques courses and as his research assistant. Previously, she taught orchestra in North Carolina, where her students earned high ratings at local, national and international festivals. She has been fortunate to conduct orchestras of all levels in North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsvylvania. She keeps a small private studio of viola, violin and cello students in Pennsylvania and performs regularly on viola. She holds a B.M.E. from Baldwin Wallace University and an M.M.E. from Penn State.