Study Day: “Teaching Music Theory in the Digital Age”

Organisers: Kenneth Smith, John Moore (Liverpool)

Call for Contributions

The last two decades of unprecedented technological advancement have irrevocably changed the way we live. The so-called ‘digital age’ has affected every conceivable aspect of our working and personal lives and these developments are showing few signs of slowing down. Music theory is no stranger to grappling with the challenges of the digital age, which has fundamentally altered the ways in which music theoretical knowledge is both communicated and consumed by a range of individuals. This is particularly significant given the current climate when many educational institutions have migrated to online provision, providing a timely opportunity to reflect on educational practice as a whole, considering also the larger online ecosystem.

One key aspect of music theory and analysis education is the ever-increasing role played by professionals working outside of formal educational institutions, adopting public social spaces mediated by the internet. The last decade has seen a sharp rise in both the popularity and influence of online music educators/communicators who produce educational content in the form of lessons, video essays and music analyses.

Considering the above, the SMA in collaboration with the University of Liverpool, is delighted to present this one-day, online study event which aims to examine the ways in which music theory and analysis are communicated in online spaces, considering its history and impact, as well as its future.

The ‘Teaching Music Theory in the Digital Age’ study day will be held on Zoom on 26th March 2021, and will consist of two parts:

  1. Individual contributions (see below)
  2. Roundtable discussion, streamed on YouTube, with the following contributors:

    Cory Arnold (aka: 12-tone), Youtuber, music theorist.
    Julianne Grasso, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Theory, University of Texas at Austin, Butler School of Music
    John Moore, PhD student, University of Liverpool, UK
    Adam Neely, Youtuber, composer, bassist, video essayist.
    William O’Hara, Assistant Professor of Music Theory, Gettysburg College, Sunderman Conservatory of Music

Individual contributions are invited in the following formats:

  • Presentation / demonstration followed by questions (20 minutes)
  • Short video essay (5-10 minutes)
  • Collaborative group themed panel discussion (45 minutes)

Proposals may consider, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • Digital tools for music theory education
  • The intersection of academic discourse and open online spaces
  • Music theory education during COVID 19
  • Higher education providers and the digital migration
  • Music theory and education on social media

Submission information

Deadline for submission: 22nd February 2021
Proposal guidelines: abstract (c. 250 words) with a biographical note (c. 100 words), submitted online.

​Enquiries to:

Applicants informed: 1st March, 2021

All abstracts will be submitted to a blind peer-review and the results and programme draft will be announced around mid-March 2021.