Students Enhance Careers with Music Education Online
When you think of music education, you may envision private teachers giving lessons in their homes or a rehearsal room full of students. These learning models are time tested and effective, but unfortunately are not available to all students. However, the dream of the virtual classroom is now a reality and online learning has come of age. According to SkilledUp’s E-learning blog, 46% of college students took at least one online class in the past year. It is predicted that by 2018, half of all classes will be taught online. Music education online is intriguing but also a bit of a mystery, especially for music students. Can you really get the same experience online as you can in a classroom?
Quintessential Punk Kid…Carlos Plaza
A drummer and music enthusiast since childhood, Carlos Plaza works as a drum teacher at the School of Rock in Easton, Pennsylvania. Describing his younger self as “the quintessential punk kid,” he didn’t want to learn about the music industry and instead wanted do everything on his own. But after his band broke up, he realized that he needed to arm himself with the knowledge to work as an independent musician. Continuing music education online was his answer.
As a working musician and teacher, he needed the convenience and flexibility of online classes to work around his schedule. So, he checked out Berklee Online (Berklee College of Music’s online extension school), but still wasn’t sure about what music education online entailed. “I was a little bit worried about going to school online because I thought that that level of convenience would be substituted for maybe not as much one-on-one interaction with the teacher or the ability to ask questions when I thought it necessary,” Carlos confesses. “But in fact, I can do all of the above. I’m constantly emailing my teachers and asking them all kinds of questions.”
His classes featured weekly group chats and an online forum allowing students to interact with their instructors frequently and collaborate with classmates across the globe. When questions arose about an assignment or a piece of gear, his instructors and classmates were able to offer help and suggestions via the forum. “There’s nothing you can’t do in terms of being a student online,” adds Carlos. “I have the entrepreneur mentality, and now I’m going to have the Music Business master certificate to back up what I’ve learned.”
Producing Adele…Fraser T. Smith
On the other side of the Atlantic is Fraser T. Smith, a guitarist-turned-songwriter-turned-producer based in the UK. His resume includes work with megastars like Adele, Sam Smith, and the Kaiser Chiefs, but Fraser says learning online has filled the gaps in his musical education. His demanding schedule won’t allow him to enroll in classes on a campus, so he turns to technology to help him connect.
“Even when I’m traveling I can fit [my classes] into a schedule because I can study using the iPhone app and the tablet app, so I can be studying in airport lounges or on the plane,” Fraser says. “I think that if [my classes were] set to a certain time of the day, I would find that quite difficult to accommodate. The flexibility means that there’s no excuse not to be able to study.”
Fraser says all of his courses have helped him produce and co-write tracks for pop stars such as Lily Allen, Ellie Goulding, and Leona Lewis. And studying with Berklee Online also helped Fraser pick up a new skill, the piano, so he could co-write, produce, and play on Adele’s 2011 hit “Set Fire to the Rain.”
These students represent the thousands who’ve pursued a music education online by taking classes with Berklee Online since 2002. It’s now possible to get high-quality, interactive music education online at any stage of your career. Berklee Online offers more than 140 12-week online courses in addition to multi-course certificate programs and an online degree. If you’re eager to hone your performance skills, popular courses include Vocal Technique 101, Pop/Rock Keyboard, Guitar Chords 101, and Rock Drums. And if you’re interested in synthesis and music production, check out Berklee’s Composing and Producing Electronic Music 1 and Recording and Producing in the Home Studio.
You can visit online.berklee.edu to learn more about pursuing your music education online and sample one of their online courses. Also, visit the Roland U.S. Facebook page and enter to win a FREE Berklee Online course, Composing and Producing Electronic Music 1, and a custom-wrapped GAIA SH-01 Synthesizer featuring SD-SH01 Sound Designer software from Roland — a $2,300 value! The contest is open October 6 through October 31, 2014.