Understanding sheet music as a medium to expand pedagogic practice

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In the field of sound studies, a medium is the contingent network of recurring relations between people, practices, institutions and technologies. This article explores sheet music as a medium that can serve to expand the pedagogic practices typically pursued in music education. Understanding the medium of sheet music as a network also can encourage music educators to understand and critique how all practices are enmeshed in media. The theoretical perspective of expanded practices is then connected to two examples of classes exploring Beck's sheet music project Song Reader: one, a class at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music (OTSFM); and, two, a project the author undertook with a graduate music education course. Eight specific practices are presented through these two examples: one, to incorporate sheet music into new media practices; two, to connect a local community of musicians to an online community; three, to move sheet music beyond face to face concerts; four, to note how audiences now routinely produce content consumed by artists; five, to connect sheet music to amateur music-making; six, to reclaim popular music for participatory music-making; seven, to invite music educators to participate in the larger renaissance of amateurism; and, eight, for educators to join in the joy exemplified by Song Reader. Copyright © 2016 Intellect Ltd Article. English language.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-222
JournalJournal of Music, Technology and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Thibeault, M. D. (2016). Understanding sheet music as a medium to expand pedagogic practice. Journal of Music, Technology and Education, 9(2), 209-222. doi: 10.1386/jmte.9.2.209_1


  • Beck Hansen
  • Music notation
  • Music pedagogy
  • New media
  • Sheet music
  • Sound studies


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