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Music teaching and learning online: Considering YouTube instructional videos

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This article is the initial foray into a long-term comprehensive collaborative investigation of online music teaching and learning. We considered representative YouTube videos (N=40) from five folk/traditional music websites for pedagogical and musical content. Video selection and categorization included banjo (n=10), fiddle (n=10), guitar (n=10) and mandolin (n=10) lessons. Content analysis factors took account of (1) video characteristics (length, teacher talktime), (2) instructor characteristics (gender, age, ethnicity), (3) musical content and (4) teaching methods. Results indicated that the majority of the selected videos were geared towards beginners and that instructors tended to be white, middle aged males. Videos also included many forms of aural reinforcement, modelling, technique-based instruction and physiological prompts. Opportunities for improvisation, however, were infrequent.
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Keywords: YouTube; adult learners; folk/traditional music; informal learning; instrument lessons; online learning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of North Texas 2: University of Western Ontario

Publication date: 2012-05-22

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  • The Journal of Music, Technology and Education (JMTE) explores the issues concerning the use of technology in music education. It examines pedagogy at all levels and across genres such as composition, musicology, performance and music production. It is the only journal specifically dedicated to the educational aspects of music technology and the technological aspects of music. Peer-reviewed, with an international editorial board, JMTE aims to draw its contributions from a broad community of educators, researchers and practitioners who are working closely with new technologies in the fields of music education and music technology education.
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