Learning with Digital Media and Technology in Hybrid Music Classrooms

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You Are Here:, Instrumental, music education, pedagogy, publications, technologyLearning with Digital Media and Technology in Hybrid Music Classrooms

Tobias, E. S. (2016). Learning with digital media and technology in hybrid music classrooms. In C. R. Abril & B. M. Gault (Eds.), Teaching general music: Approaches, issues, and viewpoints (pp. 112-140). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

My chapter, Learning with digital media and technology in hybrid music classrooms is now available in the fabulous book, Teaching general music: Approaches, issues, and viewpoints [affiliate link]. You can read my overall description of the book Teaching general music here.


The book is fantastic and can be a great resource for music teachers, pre-service educators, teaching artists, and anyone involved in music teaching and learning. If for whatever reason you don’t end up acquiring the book but would like a copy of my chapter, let me know.

If you don’t end up acquiring the book but would like a copy of my chapter, let me know.

The chapter is not about technology. Rather, I outline an approach for designing, structuring, and facilitating comprehensive project-based music courses that blend aspects of general music and ensembles. I also explain how digital media and technology can play a role in supporting students’ musical engagement and learning. It can be especially helpful to people looking for a starting point to develop or reconceptualize a general music type class or to expand from large ensembles that currently focus primarily on rehearsing and performing others’ music.

The hybrid approach offers an alternative to “strands” as a way of approaching music classes and ensembles. For instance, some schools might offer different classes and ensembles that fit in distinct and separate categories or strands such as a class or ensemble of “harmonizing instruments,” a “music technology” class, a “traditional or emerging ensemble” or a “theory or composition” class. The hybrid approach offers a more comprehensive design where all of these ways of engaging with and learning music can overlap, intersect, and occur in the same setting such as students using harmonizing instruments and technology to create, perform, respond to, and connect with music while addressing aspects of analysis and theory. Or, a class where some students work on harmonizing instruments while others focus on collaborating with them but focusing on technology and digital media. There are so many possibilities.

Here’s an abstract of the chapter:

This chapter explores intersections between technology, digital media, music, musicking, and education. At focus is the development of a hybrid approach that encompasses multifaceted ways that people enact musicianship in relation to and through digital media and technology. In the context of music education, a hybrid approach embraces overlaps, combinations, connections, and blurred lines among music and ways of being musical. It fosters classrooms that mix aspects of general music and ensembles; mobile devices and acoustic instruments; or musics from multiple genres, eras, and cultures. The hybrid approach discussed in this chapter situates students’ learning and musical engagement in musical inquiry and projects. This approach is flexible enough to support students’ interests in particular musical foci in a manner that resists linear, sequential, or compartmentalized forms of instruction. This chapter provides a springboard for developing and facilitating learning environments that are comprehensive in scope and rich with possibilities.

The chapter addresses the following principles and practices:

  • Hybridity, a hybrid approach, and hybrid classes
  • Connections to other approaches and aspects that make the approach distinct
  • Designing and facilitating projects and units
  • Technology and media
  • Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)
  • The ways technology and media mediate engagement and learning
  • Addressing affordnaces and constraints of digital media and technology
  • Considering cultural forms and musical practices
  • Situating technology and digital media in larger contexts (and approaches to the core arts standard of connecting)
  • Expanded notions of musicianship and musical practices
  • Supporting multiple and overlapping musical practices in the same setting
  • Music literacies and fluency
  • Getting to know students and leverging expertise
  • Balancing music, media, and technology
  • Supporting and facilitating learning and engagement
  • The role(s) of technology and digital media in scaffolding
  • Assessment (and evaluation) in a hybrid approach

The hybrid approach works well with many of the approaches outlined in Teaching general music: Approaches, issues, and viewpoints

Hybrid learning and teaching settings go hand in hand with project-based learning in music education

Here are some curated resources for facilitating hybrid music classes.

I’m always interested in collaborating with people who are teaching in hybrid-type settings or interested in designing music programs with a hybrid approach, so get in touch if you like.

What excites you about a hybrid approach?

What questions or concerns do you have about a hybrid approach?

What ways are you already engaging in or moving toward a hybrid approach?

Again, if you don’t end up acquiring the book but would like a copy of my chapter, let me know in the comments section and I’ll send you a copy.

About the author:

4 thoughts to “Learning with Digital Media and Technology in Hybrid Music Classrooms”

  1. Hi Evan,
    I’m teaching what might be considered a hybrid-type middle school gen music class. I’d very much like to read your chapter as I continue to develop my approach and curriculum.
    Thanks so much!

  2. I would love a copy of your chapter. I will be attending the Symposium on “Elemental Music and Dance Education in the Changing World of Media” at the Orff Institute in Salzburg in a few weeks. It may be helpful to share this information during the conversations…and certainly will help spread the word about this resource. Thanks for offering to share the chapter!

  3. This looks interesting and relevant for general music students of all ages. As a middle school educator, I am interested in learning more about the integration of technology, creativity and addressing the student’s interests. Please forward me your chapter so I might learn about way to expand my curriculum.

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