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Blurred lines: Practical and theoretical implications of a DAW-based pedagogy

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Digital audio workstations (DAWs) occupy a prominent space in the creative arts. Songwriters, composers, producers, and audio engineers use a combination of software and virtual instruments to record and make music. Educators increasingly find DAWs useful for teaching concepts in signal flow, acoustics and sound synthesis, and to model analogue processes. As the creative industries shift to primarily software-based platforms, the identities, roles, and responsibilities of the participants intersect and blur. Similarly, networked technologies change the space and place of creative activity. Now, the ‘studio’ exists virtually anywhere. For educators working with students, these changing paradigms present a series of challenges. This article explores the DAW’s possibilities across three areas: space and place, theory and identity, and pedagogy. The article advocates for a less technocratic model of teaching and learning with DAWs in favour of an approach that cultivates a balance of aesthetic awareness and creativity.

Keywords: aesthetics; digital audio workstation; experience; identity; music education; music technology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2020

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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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