2020 Teaching Music Online in Higher Education




Virtual Conference May 15 and May 16, 2020


Sponsored by The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music,


Melbourne, Australia



Co-convenors: Dr Carol Johnson & Dr Brad Merrick


Contact: teaching-music-online@unimelb.edu.au



Conference website:




Making the Best Use of Your Conference Time


Keynote Presentations: The keynote presentations are live-streamed sessions. They will be recorded and made available within 24 hours after the completion of the keynote. Please join in the live-stream sessions to take part in the interactive aspects of the sessions. Questions with the keynote can be further explored in the keynote discussion area.


Workshops: The workshops are live-streamed opportunities for delegates to learn practical aspects of teaching music online. The workshop sessions focus on sharing approaches to teaching music online. There will be a short 10 minutes question time at the end of the workshop. Feel free to continue your discussions in the Canvas discussion area that corresponds to the specific workshop.


Q & A’s about Presentations: To make best use of the live-streaming time with presenters, we ask that you view their 15 to 20-minute recorded presentations prior to their corresponding Q & A session. For example, you will find Dr Pamela Pike’s recorded presentation in the Canvas area (easily located in the modules section) under “Pre-Recorded Presentation”.



Timetable Quick Overview (Looking for the time in your time zone? Click here)


FORUM 1 (Friday 5am to 7:30am AEST)


FORUM 2 (Friday 12noon to 3:30pm AEST)


FORUM 3 (Saturday 9am to 12:45pm AEST)






FORUM 1 (Friday 5am to 7:30am AEST)


Friday 5am (AEST)

Forum 1 Keynote

Keynote Presenter: Dr Andrew King, University of Hull

Online Music Education: Understanding the Challenges
The global pandemic that is COVID-19 has brought into sharp focus the potential of online learning not only in higher education but also in other forms of education and working, although it comes not without its challenges. In this paper I am going to explore the background context in terms of using technology in learning, some models for integrating technology into teaching, draw upon an action-led research project in the area of online instrumental learning, before then focusing upon the potential of immersive technologies in future educational approaches. Finall, I will attempt to signpost areas of future research for online learning in music education.



Friday 6am (AEST)

Workshop A

Presenters: Giovanni Cospito, Massimo Cottica, Stefano Delle Monache, Paolo Rimoldi, Mantautas Krukaukas, Christen Teglbjaerg, and Eva Hess Thaysen, Milano Conservatorio

The EU project INTERMUSIC (Interactive Environment for Music Learning and Practising, 2017-20)  “What we learned, what we produced, where we are heading to”

The European project INTERMUSIC aims to develop digital skills in the field of music higher education, by 1) implementing an online shared platform for the distance learning dedicated to performing practices, theoretical and compositional courses; 2) designing specialised music training pathways that integrate lessons from different European music institutions, with sustainable development over time; 3) understanding the most demanding aspects of remote music interaction and communication in the context of chamber music, instrumental and vocal practice. The workshop will feature the project’s highlights, along with concrete experiences of blended learning, collected after three years of collaborations among the five partners, Music Conservatoire of Milano, Politecnico of Milano, LMTA in Vilnius, RDAM in Copenhagen, and AEC in Brussels.



Friday 7am (AEST)

Q & A’s about Presentation: 101

Presenter: Dr Pamela Pike, Louisiana State University

Preparing an Emerging Professional to Teach Piano Online: A Case Study

This case study explored one skeptical pedagogy student’s experience of taking synchronous online piano lessons and then completing a distance teaching internship, in order to identify important pedagogical skills needed to make the transition to teaching in the online medium. The student was a doctoral piano pedagogy student at a large research university in the United States. The online lessons took place during a 12-week period with an experienced online piano teacher at the institution, using Internet-MIDI. Following lessons, the student engaged in a four-week supervised pedagogy internship where she taught an undergraduate piano student online. Data were gathered and triangulated through post-lesson reflections, in-depth interviews and observation of lesson videos. A narrative of the experience of the pedagogy intern was written, member checked and themes identified. This experiential pedagogical approach provided the student with a comprehensive set of tools and strategies for effective online teaching; these can be used in future piano pedagogy classes.  



Friday 7:15am (AEST)

Q & A’s about Presentation: 102

Presenter: Jesper Anderson, Royal Danish Academy of Music

Synchronous Distance Learning in Higher Music Education

Since 2011 The Royal Danish Academy of Music has been engaged in working with synchronous distance learning. In cooperation with Aalborg University, extensive research has been carried out to investigate the didactic challenges that occur, when traditional music teaching is mediated through video conferencing technologies. Organizational integration, international outreach and ongoing technical developments have been walking hand in hand all the way and lots of experiences have been gained.
Based on the research and practitioner experience from over 750 events, the presentation will share knowledge, both for newcomers and more experienced individuals and institutions. The presentation will focus on three areas: Technologies, Didactics and Organization



FORUM 2 (Friday 12noon to 3:30pm AEST)


Friday 12noon (AEST)

Forum 2 Keynote

Keynote Presenter: Dr Jennifer Lock, University of Calgary

Traversing the Online Learning Landscape: Embracing Opportunity in Designing Robust Learning

With the current grow of online learning in higher education, there is a major shift occurring in the learning landscape. As we learn more about how people learn, we need to draw on evidence-informed practice in conceptualizing, developing, and implementing robust learning within technology enabled learning environments. In designing online learning, careful consideration needs to be given to the nature and degree of the knowledge and skills developed which are required to live well in today’s complex and globally connected world. As designers of  the contemporary learning landscape, we need to check our assumptions, be open to difference, embrace technological affordances, and engage in opportunities to foster inclusivity and meaningful learning for all students.  In our design, how are we creating and navigating a rich online learning landscape?



Friday 1pm (AEST)

Workshop B

Workshop Presenter: Dr Carol Johnson, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

Designing an Online Music Course

When creating an online music course, instructors should consider three essential elements: communication, design and assessment. This workshop will highlight how to map out an online music course using these essential design elements.



Friday 2:01pm (AEST)

Q & A’s about Presentation: 103

Presenter: Tim Nikolsky, Virtual School Victoria

Challenges and Opportunities in teaching VCE Music at Virtual School Victoria

This paper seeks to describe the educational situation of Virtual School Victoria (VSV) from an insider’s perspective teaching music subjects in an online context. Whilst detailing the challenges and opportunities in providing the online delivery of music education in this context, this paper endeavours to offer a perspective of operations in the Secondary education sector; how a meaningful musical engagement can be available to all students; and how this knowledge and foundation can possibly be utilised in the Tertiary sector.



Friday 2:15pm (AEST)

Q & A’s about Presentation: 104

Presenters: Dr Margaret Osborne and Don Immel, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

Entering the live streaming void and emerging victorious: a narrative study of teaching performance psychology under pressure

The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music offers two subjects in applied performance psychology skills: an introductory undergraduate option for music students as well as other disciplines such as sport and public speaking; and an advanced postgraduate option for a small number of early career musicians in an elite orchestral internship program. Both subjects incorporate live streaming from national and international subject matter experts to enhance the depth of content delivery.



Friday 2:45pm (AEST)

Q & A’s about Presentation: 106

Presenter: Benjamin Redman, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

The use of videoconferencing and low-latency audiovisual streaming (LoLa) for instrumental music teaching

Videoconferencing is becoming an increasingly accepted method of delivering instrumental music lessons. However, there are concerns that essential aspects of instrumental music pedagogy, including playing together, may be missing when teaching via videoconferencing. The LoLa system was designed and developed to address that problem by offering a high quality audiovisual streaming system that allows synchronous real-time interaction between remote locations.  This study seeks to understand and assess the responses of a variety of music teachers and students to using videoconferencing and LoLa technology in instrumental music lessons.



Friday 3pm  (AEST)

Q & A’s about Presentation: 107

Presenter: Sara Primiterra, Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC)

European Association of Conservatoires (AEC) and its action regarding the digitalization of the higher music education sector in Europe

AEC is a voluntary coalition representing Higher Music Education Institutions (HMEIs) in Europe and beyond. In recent years, through the participation and leadership of projects involving the use of digital technologies, the AEC is addressing the digital shift that students, teachers and staff of HMEIs in Europe are asked to embrace in order to face the challenges of our society
Distance learning and musical interaction tools, but also the use of technologies in the conservatoire management (in particular in relation to the management of the Erasmus procedures), the need to provide students with solid digital skills to be up to the modern labor market and the use technologies for audience development are the different angles that the AEC is exploring when facing the digital challenge.

The work of the working groups dedicated to Digitisation, Learning & Teaching and Internationalisation & Mobility within the Creative Europe (Network) Project “AEC – Strengthening Music in Society” will be presented with a special focus on the Online Application System EASY. Furthermore, the outputs of the Erasmus+ projects INTERMUSIC, SWING and DEMUSIS and of the Creative Europe projects Opera Out of Opera and Opera InCanto will be also presented. The different use and role of technologies in the framework of music education addressed by these projects will be explored in the presentation.


FORUM 3 (Saturday 9am to 12:45pm AEST)


Saturday 9am (AEST)

Forum 3 Keynote

Keynote Presenter: Dr Carol Johnson, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

The Global Landscape of Online Music Classes Prior to COVID-19

We have abruptly shifted to remote teaching for music in higher education during COVID-19. Particular countries were better positioned to make the shift due to their prior use of online learning while others had yet to embrace online learning. Understanding where we were as a discipline in using online learning platforms will help understand how to effectively move forward and will open doorways for new questions of practice and teaching ontologies.


Saturday 10am (AEST)

Workshop C

Workshop Presenter: Dr Brad Merrick, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

Three Cs for Strategic Transitioning to Online: Reflections from the COVID-19 Journey

In our response to COVID-19, the definition of teaching and learning has continued to be redefined for us all, almost daily, through our necessity to respond, adapt and implement subjects in a totally ‘virtual’ world, whether it be performance, composition, teaching, coursework, or reflective practice. As a course co-coordinator of a Music Teaching graduate program at the MCM, this workshop reflects on key aspects of that journey, exploring the three ‘C’s that have emerged as being critical to all aspects of learning, curriculum design, program delivery and assessment during this time. The importance of Clarity, Communication, and Collaboration within the broader strategic transition to ‘online’ will be unpacked with selected examples and a series of activities for participants.



Saturday 11:01am (AEST)

Q & A’s about Presentation: 108

Presenter: Martin Emo, University of Wellington

Ableton Live!… Meet the secondary school music teacher.

In the last 30 years, digital technology such as Digital Audio Workstations have changed how music is made. Currently, there is a disconnection between classroom music pedagogy and how music is created outside of the classroom. This paper presents the findings from recent empirical research of five teachers geographically spread throughout New Zealand using Ableton Live.

The 20-week Professional Learning Development (PLD) investigated: “What are the factors that enable and/or inhibit the high school music teachers in learning new music technology in a blended learning environment?”  The purpose of this research aim was to support the professional learning of experienced high school music teachers who wished to cater to the changing was of making music but who recognized that they not have the background to do so. The six-phase inductive approach for the interpretive analysis of the themes revealed that time, blended learning design and facilitation enabled the learning of the teacher participants. The use of videos had a divergent impact on the cohort and suggests that future PLD could increase teacher readiness for using videos and a blended learning design. This paper will conclude with potential implications for high school music teachers and initial teacher educators.



Saturday 11:15am (AEST)

Q & A’s about Presentation: 109

Presenter: Dr Brad Merrick, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

Changing Mindset – Changing Perceptions – Changing Learning – Changing Tradition. That is the challenge in online learning

This session will examine the difficulties that arise in developing an online learning environment in Tertiary courses, looking at the challenges that confront academics when traditional modes of delivery need to be transitioned to align with 21st Century thinking and learning. Through the exploration of the transition from a mainstream LMS (Blackboard), to a more flexible and intuitive online learning system (Canvas) at the UOM, the presenter will explore and demonstrate how simple shifts in the mindset of the designer, the way in which strategies are employed, and the design of questions can influence the online learning process. This will be explored through examples of work that can facilitate increased engagement, ongoing student reflection, combined with higher order responses from participants. By placing the ‘Understanding’ upfront (Blythe, 1998), and structuring tasks around the three key phases from the Cycle of Academic Self-regulation (Zimmerman, 1998; Cleary & Zimmerman, 2004), online modules can place an increased emphasis on skillful, refined thinking and independent learning, encouraging students to develop belief in their ability to learn with increased independence. This session will challenge the teacher to adopt more of a ‘facilitator role’ as a means of developing features of Growth Mindset (Dweck, 2006) amongst students. Through examples of teaching units and activities, this paper will connect theory to practice, suggesting how well-designed online learning experiences can facilitate student belief and confidence, while shifting the focus from a traditional product driven pedagogy, to more process-oriented teaching practice.



Saturday 11:30am (AEST)

Q & A’s about Presentation: 110

Presenter(s): Dr Alana Blackburn and Dr Donna Hewitt, University of New England

Collaborative performance in an online environment

One of the pedagogical challenges for online teaching is preparing tertiary music students for collaborative work, particularly in performance. This presentation surveys the use of online performance collaboration technology within higher education music studies. Using a framework of constructive alignment, synchronous and asynchronous learning tools are investigated and discussed within an undergraduate music course, and the strengths and weaknesses of these are considered when meeting learning outcomes. In order to achieve crucial lifelong learning needs, we determine how collaborative online performance tools can not only develop musical skills, but also establish meta-skills professional portfolio musicians require today.



Saturday 11:45am (AEST)

Q & A’s about Presentation: 111

Presenter: Benjamin Loveridge, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

Can the use of virtual reality improve the experience of real-time networked singing teaching?

Access to specialist music instructors can be an issue for those living in regional areas or with a physical disability. Although webcam-based video conferencing technology can help bridge the distance divide, factors such as audio quality, latency and lack of physical presence can have an impact on the nature of the session.

By looking at recent research in the area, this presentation will discuss how the use of virtual reality and networked music technology may be applicable in the context of online singing tuition. It will examine the affordances as well as the limitations that comes with the technology and provide practical insights into best practices.



Saturday 12pm (AEST)

Q & A’s about Presentation: 112

Presenter: Dr Kenny McAlpine, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

Etudiants sans Frontières: Facilitating online cultural exchange using music technology

The paper outlines the design and implementation of this online student exchange programme, discusses the challenges, benefits and drawbacks to the approach, and concludes by generalizing from this particular case to discuss how discipline-specific skills can be used as a mechanism to build cohesive and outward-looking cohorts of students, even when they are not co-located on campus. 



Saturday 12:15pm (AEST)

Conference Wrap-Up



Special thanks to the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music for sponsoring this year’s conference.




Thank you to the following for their generous support and assistance:


MCM Director Richard Kurth, Professor Gary McPherson, Tiffany Cheok, Amanda Turnbull, Eric Gardiner,
Sean Morgan, James Cornish, James Hutchison, Leon de Bruin and Amanda Kruse.