The Future Songwriting project consists of teacher training, school pilots and scientific research to develop tools and methodology for the future of music education. The two-year project is co-funded by the European Union Creative Europe Programme.
Training for teachers
In the 21st century, digital technology has become more and more important in education. Many teachers feel that they need digital tools in the classroom, but they would also need advice on how to use them. It is required by the curriculum to develop digital skills, but many teachers don’t know how to go about it. The research team of University of the Arts Helsinki (UniArts, Finland), with the contribution of Musical Futures (United Kingdom) and University of Cologne (Germany), investigates how is the best to provide in-service training for teachers.
Do teachers prefer to participate in training in their work time on weekdays; or on weekends? How to train teachers to use the digital audio workstation app if they have never done or taught composing before? Teachers from Finland, Germany and France are interviewed to gather their perspectives.
Songwriting in the classroom
The research team of University of Cologne (Germany) focuses on the pupils’ experiences. As the children are composing the songs, the iPad is recording their discussions to see the process of how small groups work, how they negotiate.
Is it the sound or is it the colour that makes them pick an instrument?
Do they take advice from their teachers when making choices in composing? How does the childrens’ approach differ depending on their age? Once the schools reopen, the German research team will continue gathering data, this time examining teenagers.
Creativity across borders and school systems
The research team of Pompeu Fabra University (UPF, Spain) is looking into cultural differences, based on artificial intelligence and music information retrieval (MIR) techniques. The compositions recorded in the different pilots are analyzed digitally in order to find differences and similarities in their acoustic characteristics.
Are there any differences in the harmony, melody, timbre or rhythm characteristics in different schools/counties? Are these differences related to the different music traditions of each school/country? What are their underlying commonalities?
The progress of the research
In the Future Songwriting project, 15 schools participate from Finland, France and Germany. Researchers visit the school pilots, gather data, and start processing them right after the activities. But the core of the work – finding deeper connections and writing papers – will begin once the pilots are done and all materials from the 15 schools are collected.