The automobile industry was perhaps one of the first places where technology truly started to replace humans and get reported on by the media. Technological advances have made life easier for most people in many ways, but for the average worker, it can sometimes spell disaster.
According to Fortunly, 20 million manufacturing jobs could be lost to robots and automation by 2030. Many more could go through the use of AI as it becomes more widespread and is used across different industries.
Interestingly, the same article reports that up to 70% of workers would be willing to augment their bodies or brains to stay employed. Cyborgs may really be on their way then.
Surely though, some roles will always require human interaction, won’t they? Music teachers couldn’t be replaced by today’s technology, could it?
Is being a music teacher still a viable career?
A music teacher has long been seen as a good career option. For someone who has a keen interest and talent in music, it is a much more viable choice than trying to make it big as a pop star for instance.
Music teachers can work in a variety of areas such as primary schools all the way through to college or university. They can be employed privately, or run their own lessons and be self-employed.
According to Career Explorer, there are somewhere in the region of 122,500 music teachers in the states alone. Between 2016 and 2026, the demand for music teachers is expected to grow by 12 percent. Clearly then, music teachers are still needed.
Then there are the opportunities for music teachers to gain extra education and move into other positions such as therapy or vocal coaching.
Could technology be used to teach music without human interaction?
What about technology though. If it is replacing other human roles, why not replace the ones of teachers and educators. After all, almost all the information anyone needs is on the internet now.
There are indeed some very useful ways that technology is being employed within music education. Applications and websites abound with music lessons including how to play various instruments.
Piano Academy is aimed firmly at encouraging children to learn keyboards or piano and covers all the fundamentals with no teachers needed. Chordify is another musical education website that shows musicians how to play chords from their favorite songs.
The truth is, many famous musicians have learned to play their instruments with little or no help from music teachers. People like Paul McCartney and Kurt Cobain had limited interaction with music teachers before moving on to train themselves.
There may have been some technology involved, but only as much as a metronome.
Is AI making its way into music education?
Artificial intelligence seems to be getting mentioned every time the news is switched on. If it isn’t involved in missiles or drone warfare, then it is in the latest smart fridge or the plot of a new TV series.
AI is certainly being investigated when it comes to education in general. There is no reason to think that music education wouldn’t benefit from some use of AI technology too perhaps.
Many AI apps can teach you about areas of music including composition, processing, and analysis. But when it comes to education AI could change how students are taught completely.
How would AI change education?
Looking at education as a whole, there is the opportunity through AI to automate certain administrative tasks that would free up tutors’ valuable time. This would allow more time to be allocated to the preparation of lessons.
Tests could be set through AI and marked as well. Artificial intelligence could also be used to monitor students’ progress and perhaps spot concerns before a human could. The technology used could then help to determine the best course of action to improve a student’s education.
The problem with the regular education system is that classes may contain twenty, thirty, or more students. All of these individuals will have different aptitudes but they will all be taught the same way. This leads to failure.
AI could help to tailor more specific learning methods for individuals to help them learn and advance. In theory, this could be used in musical education too.
Could tech and AI change music education methods?
Learning instruments is not particularly the same as studying calculus. So, it is hard to envision a class of musicians sitting in front of computer screens with personalized learning plans being displayed.
However, on an individual basis, software that is able to connect to an instrument through a MIDI cable, for instance, could analyze music being played and give feedback. It could report on where errors were made, on the tempo, and offer practice advice such as a music teacher would.
Mobile device apps are already doing this in the real world today.
Is it possible to learn an instrument through apps and other technology?
In the music industry, Johnny Marr is something of a legend, and he is still releasing records today.
Marr is self-taught and has been playing live since he formed his first band at the age of 13. However, not everyone will become a Johnny Marr if they pick up the guitar, and not everyone can teach themselves.
Yet it is clear to see how technology has changed education and made it easier for individuals to teach themselves in some areas. Mobile apps have made it possible to learn languages at home without ever visiting the country concerned. They can also make it possible to learn an instrument if you are of the right persuasion.
Apps can teach an individual how to read music, and they can help a student compose lyrics. Technology such as the internet has allowed educators and enthusiasts to post lessons for the piano, the ukulele, and a variety of other instruments.
Could someone interested in music completely bypass music education?
Even if you learned your guitar from using apps and resources online, you would still be taking part in some form of music education. YouTube guitar lessons are often put together by genuine music teachers, or at least very astute players.
Applications for mobile devices are there to educate, so you would still be taking part in some form of lesson. You can learn Hey There Delilah chords on a music education website, but then again you are being taught by AI and the people behind it.
Of course, you can bypass the formal music education system, but perhaps the best option is to look for a hybrid solution. Many musicians found that they benefited from having just a few professional lessons with a music teacher to get the basics down and avoid bad habits at the start and then move on to other aids such as mobile apps.
Of course, if you are still in education you can make use of your school’s music room, and resources there. Why waste any chance of improving your skills, especially if the knowledge is going free?
We may be some way from seeing a cyborg music teacher, but technology and AI are already involved in music education in some way. At the moment it is mostly informal and outside of the education system, but it might not be this way for long.
Whether technology could be a substitute for a good music teacher is debatable, and may depend on your learning style. One thing a mobile app cannot do now is to understand the passion ior meaning behind the music or recommend different genres for you to try. A music teacher has experience and knowledge that an app can’t quite give yet, even if they can teach you chords to Taylor Swift songs.