Peer Sounds

Intersection between Technology and Creativity in Music

Rome (I), November 2011 - The OEB session "Social Sounds for Peer Education" aims to give an overview of how digital-technology applications have changed music education, creation, and production. Andrea Pozzi, marketing and communication manager of MidiWare is also in charge of managing all MidiWare activities relating to their European educational projects. MidiWare provides support to music teachers, schools, conservatories, and other important European Institutions. As a musician, Andrea plays bass in a band that is signed to an Italian record company.

How do you define a "Peer Sound" and a "Social Sound"?

Andrea Pozzi: These definitions are strictly related to the future of web-based music education. Basically "Peer Sound" and "Social Sound" are two faces of the same medal, both connected to how the Web 2.0 community interacts with music and social networking. This community is reticular, populated by owners of specific skills and competencies developed inside the environments and over the net. It uses both software for digital music production and the Internet -œstudios- communities in which all members can share their knowledge.

They're called peer-to-peer communities not only because of the technology used but mainly because of the strategy used (collaboration among peers). The communities can exist thanks to the environments hosted by the communications networks. Media and the Internet have boosted the creation of virtual communities in which a new social and professional behavior is carried out: the sharing of knowledge and skills.

These communities can be stable or unstable and limited in time or exist on a per-project basis, but they are all mediated. In other words they exist thanks to specific media, and from the same media they are enforced, fed, and aimed. This is a new trend that is growing, and in a short time it will have deep effects on many fields, like education, training, work, and even culture.

Music has always been a unifying factor for young people, but it's a leisure-time activity. Does it have any connection to education?

Andrea Pozzi: Music and education are in fact closely related. Education is about the communication of ideas, and nothing is changing faster in the 21st century than communication. The Internet has become a substantial part of the lives of a significant proportion of the people in the developed world. There are a myriad of opportunities for learning presented by the endless flow of information presented in the online world.

The role of the music teacher has increasingly been supplanted by an online community in which the exchange of knowledge is between peers rather than the traditional flow of information from teacher to student. Once it has been accepted that this informal educational context has a valid, important and irrevocable place in the modern music-education process, the challenge for educational professionals is to integrate the tools, ideas, and methods into a formal didactic context.

Since its establishment in 1986, MidiWare has linked music and computers. In your opinion, what influence has this link had on the lives and education of young people?

Andrea Pozzi: Even in the early stages of its activity the MidiWare Educational section integrated new computer technologies into the traditional educational methods used by conservatories, music schools and academies, public and private schools, universities, and professional training centers.

The goal was to develop a complete educational program and a training solution as a solid base for new professional roles introduced by the vertical growth of IT and digital technologies. We sought to link audio editing, mix and post-production sound engineers, experts in the management of live music performances and in the whole entertainment business, together with all industry roles connected with music composition. This could be for television and cinema, music publishing, multimedia, advertising, conservation and restoration of musical works, music therapy, and all disciplines requiring the use of new technologies applied to music.

So the link between music and computers has helped the development of a real integration between the educational and professional sectors, thanks to the common intersection between technology and creativity in music.