Can Spotify and New York City save music education with technology?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Forget recorders and bongo drums; the classroom musical instruments of tomorrow could look more like GarageBand and Spotify. And it’s not necessarily because educators want to familiarize students with technology. It’s because, in an age of declining budgets and disappearing school arts programs, technology might be a way to cost-effectively keep and improve music education in the classroom.

In a move that I hope inspires more activities like it, Spotify and the New York City Department of Education this week announced that they’re jointly hosting a hackathon encouraging developers to create apps for music education.

In a post on its blog, Spotify said its goal is to “unlock the creative power of music and technology to address some key educational challenges.”

As part of the hackathon, which will take place later this month, music teachers were asked to identify the problems and issues most important to them. Their input will shape the challenge presented to developers at the event and a few teachers will be on hand to consult with the developers as they create their apps.  The judging panel is expected to include people from startups like Spotify and Rap Genius, an executive from Universal Music and officials from City Hall.

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