The Music Professor Online

PDF The Music Professor Online April 15, 2022

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The Music Professor Online is a practical volume that provides a window into online music instruction in higher education. Author Judith Bowman highlights commonalities between online and face-to-face teaching, presents a theoretical framework for online learning, and provides practical models and techniques based on interviews with professors teaching online in various music disciplines. This book offers keys for thinking about music education in a post-COVID world, when the importance and interest of online education is of central concern.

Part I reviews the growth and significance of online learning and online learning in music, identifies similarities and differences between face-to-face and online teaching, and presents standards and principles for online instruction. It explores development of an online teaching persona, explains teaching presence, and emphasizes the central role of the instructor as director of learning, always in relation to specific disciplines and their signature pedagogies. Part II focuses on the lived online curriculum, featuring online teaching experiences in key fields by professors teaching them online. Bowman explores specific disciplines and their signature pedagogies together with practitioner profiles that provide insights into the thinking and techniques of excellent online music instructors, together with recommendations for prospective online instructors and lessons drawn from the field. Part III summarizes recommendations and lessons from online practitioners, presents an action plan for moving forward with online music instruction, and looks to the future of online instruction in music. Educators will find great use in this comprehensive, thoughtful compendium of reflections from a leading, longtime online music educator.​


This book originated from recommendations for future research in my previous book, Online Learning in Music: Foundations, Frameworks, and Practices (2014). Of particular interest were studies of practice to determine what pedagogical techniques would work best for what types of online music courses, with focus on “the techniques and strategies used by successful online instructors, how they changed their approaches to suit the online environment, and how they determined what constitutes high-quality music learning experiences in various types of music courses” (Bowman, 2014, pp. 219–220). Brendan McConville and Barbara Murphy expressed the same thoughts: “We think the next step in the study of online courses should be a more comprehensive inquiry addressing specific teaching strategies, pedagogical frameworks, and curricular approaches that are generating successful online music courses in various sub-disciplines and degrees” (McConville & Murphy, 2017, Part II, para. 10). A serendipitous conversation with McConville and Murphy at the meeting of the Association for Technology in Music Instruction in 2016 led to a panel discussion on this topic at the next year’s ATMI meeting, and the idea gained momentum from that point.

Key to the development of the book were the contributions of the following professors, who represent various music disciplines. In applied music: Pamela Pike, Keith Dye, Kathleen Melago. In music theory: Barbara Murphy, Brendan McConville, Greg McCandless, Anna Gawboy. In music history/musicology: Allison Alcorn, Dan Keast, Art Brownlow, Louis Epstein. In music appreciation: Kim Davenport, Bethanie Hansen. In music education: William Bauer, Jane Kuehne, Jill Reese. I’m grateful to these professors for agreeing to be interviewed and for sharing their experiences and their advice for prospective online instructors.

Special thanks to Norman Hirschy for his initial enthusiasm for this topic and for his continued support and expert guidance through all stages of the development of the book.​
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