Children's Creative Music-Making with Reflexive Interactive Technology discusses pioneering experiments conducted with young children using a new generation of music software for improvising and composing. Using artificial intelligence techniques, this software captures the children’s musical style and interactively reflects it in its responses. The book describes the potential of these applications to enhance children’s agency and musical identity by reflecting players’ musical inputs, storing and creating variations on them. Set in the broader context of current music education research, it addresses the benefits and challenges of incorporating music technologies in primary and pre-school education.
It is comprised of six main chapters, which cover the creation of children's own music and their musical selves, critical thinking skills and learner agency, musical language development, and emotional intent during creative music-making. The authors provide a range of straight-forward techniques and strategies, which challenge conceptions of ‘difficult-to-use music technologies’ in formal music education. These are supported by an informative collection of practitioner vignettes written by teachers who have used the software in their classrooms. Not only are the teachers’ voices heard here, but also those of children as they discover some of the creative possibilities of music making. The book also provides free access to a companion website with teacher forums and a large bank of activities to explore. A toolkit serves as a database of the teaching activities in which MIROR applications have been used and provides a set of useful ideas regarding its future use in a variety of settings.
This book demonstrates that music applications based on artificial intelligence techniques can make an important contribution to music education within primary and pre-school education. It will be of key interest to academics, researchers and postgraduate students in the fields of music education, music technology, early years and primary education, teaching and learning, and teacher educators. It will also serve as an important point of reference for Early Years and Primary practitioners.
Dr Susan Young, author of Music 3 - 5 (Essential Guides for Early Years Practitioners):
Not only does this excellent book offer insights into a ground-breaking European project that explored the use of music technology in education, it also sets the project in the wider picture of children’s musical imaginations, creativity and identities.
David Hargreaves, Professor of Education and Froebel Research Fellow, University of Roehampton:
The digital revolution has fundamentally changed the ways in which we engage with music, and the MIROR project provides some pioneering evidence that the new technology can promote creative music-making in children under the age of ten. This book is a fascinating and eye-opening account of a research project which shows how music technology can can not only facilitate children’s improvisation and composition, but also develop their deeper sense of music agency and identity.
Mark d'Inverno, Pro-Warden for Research and Enterprise University at Goldsmiths, University of London:
A vital part of learning is that we look at interdisciplinary approaches to understanding how technology can support learning. We need to bring computer scientists, designers, pedagogy experts, psychologists, educationalist and most importantly teachers and students together - in practical and informed ways - in order to continually consider how technology can support, challenge and provoke us to fulfil our creative potential. This book is an important milestone in this journey, bringing exactly the right mix of discipline-informed theory balanced with methdologically sound practice. It is an important book for any of us who want to think about how we use technology to help others be as creative as they possibly can be. And not just in music.
Mirko Degli Esposti, Vice Rector, Full Professor in Mathematical Physics, Alma Mater, University of Bologna (Italy)
This is a fantastic application in the classroom of quite sophisticated technologies, borrowing from machine-learning, statistics, and mathematics. Our education systems have to harness the power of artificial intelligence to use them in a productive, human way, and this book describes pioneering and fascinating experiments in that direction.
Gena R. Greher, Professor of Music Education, University of Massachusetts Lowell
The authors of this book provide solid evidence that young children’s musical creations are thoughtful and intentional. The interactive software described in this text provided opportunities supportive of improvisation and playing with sounds in a non-judgmental playful environment contributing to the musical growth of the participants.
Dr. Oscar Odena, University of Glasgow, UK
A timely monograph discussing a recent international research project that will enlighten anyone interested in using music technology with early and primary-aged children.
Introduction 1. Young Children Learning through Music Technology 2. Improvising and Composing in the Early Years 3. Interacting with Style: The MIROR Software and its Pedagogical Theories 4. Creating Sounds, Creating Musical Selves: Children Playing with MIROR 5. Experimenting with Materials: Skills for Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving 6. A 'Language' for Creative Music-Making: Reasoning, Emotional and Learning Intentions Conclusion