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“Let your creativity lead you down new paths”: Advice and findings from our music technology survey

9th March 2023

Digital Innovation in Music Education logo

The publication of the National Plan for Music Education in England in June 2022 announced that four national Music
Hub Centres of Excellence will be established. Once up and running, the Centre of Excellence for Music Technology will work to build expertise, develop resources and facilitate connections between industry leaders and the Music Hub programme.

In order to investigate how a Centre of Excellence might best support technology in music education, the Digital Innovation in Music Education alliance is inviting responses to a survey. So far, the survey has received 42 responses which provide insights into how the music education sector could be better supported in relation to music technology. However, it is difficult to draw conclusions with such a limited dataset. In order to make the most of this opportunity to better understand the needs of the sector, we’d like to receive more responses from a wide variety of voices. If you’d like to help us, please complete the survey if you haven’t already done so and then share it in your networks. In the meantime, we’d like to present some preliminary findings below.


We’re seeking responses from a wide range of voices in the music education sector. Figure 1 shows that so far the survey has been completed by 13 music service leaders, 13 school teachers, 7 vocal/instrumental teachers, and 9 other practitioners.

Figure 1: Which of the following options best describes you?

26 respondents work in an educational setting and the majority of these work in primary and secondary schools but other settings are represented as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: If you work in an education setting, which types of provision does your setting provide?

What Support is Needed?

We want to know what types of support would enable music educators to improve their teaching of music technology. Figure 3 shows that our respondents felt that the three most useful types of support would be signposting to existing resources, training in the use of equipment and software, and new resources.

Figure 3: Please select which of the following you would find useful in your setting when considering how you use music technology to support music education.

We’re also asking respondents to provide more details about the support that would be helpful to them. Responses reveal that there are teachers in need of training and support in designing progressive music technology curriculums.

It was suggested by one music service leader that support may be needed in knowing ‘what to look for when employing practitioners to teach using technology’ and this concern was also expressed by another respondent acknowledging the challenges around recruitment and training:

I think the biggest gap we currently have is in training for our workforce, or finding a good quality workforce with this specialism (especially if we don’t know what to look for in good quality). We find that often by the time we upskill in this area, the technology has already moved on.

Concern about the longevity of equipment and software was raised by one respondent who stressed the importance of ‘hardware that can last for a good length of time with appropriate updates and mechanisms for replacement when at end of life’.

What are the Challenges?

As well as finding out what support is needed when it comes to music technology, we’re asking about the limitations that music educators experience in their practice. Figure 4 shows that at least 50% of respondents were in agreement that their use of technology in music education is limited by financial restrictions, a lack of training and a lack of or inadequate equipment.

Figure 4: My use of technology in music education is limited by…

We’re asking respondents to provide more information about the challenges they face when incorporating music technology in their work. A common theme arising in these responses is a disparity in the availability of equipment between different schools. One music teacher working across multiple schools writes:

Each school has a different set of resources. Some have iPads, some have laptops. If I want software installed on them, this has to be agreed with the school and the cost covered by the school but some software can only be put on iPads.

Lack of teaching expertise and staff capacity were also put forward as limitations to the use of music technology in music service provision.

The cost implication for young musicians themselves was raised by one music service leader who suggested that, ‘ideally, we want to use methods that they can continue to access at no or low cost outside of school themselves’.

How is Music Technology Being Used?

In order to gain a better understanding of how music technology is being utilised in various music education settings, we’re asking for responses to a series of questions about what technology they use, how they find out about the latest technology and whether they are able to make full use of the technology they have available.

The following lists summarise the music technology that is currently being used by respondents to the survey:


  • Mac
  • PC
  • iPad
  • iPod
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Recording devices
  • Microphone
  • Music technology bus
  • Soundbeam
  • Drum machine
  • Soundbops


  • Logic
  • BandLab
  • GarageBand
  • Charanga
  • Purple Mash
  • Chrome Music Lab
  • Audacity
  • Ableton Live
  • ABRSM apps
  • Rekordbox
  • Cubase


  • BBC Ten pieces
  • Classroom 100
  • Classroom 200

Respondents are asked whether they are able to make full use of the equipment and software that they have available and with 26 responses to this question, an equal number of people answered ‘yes’ as answered ‘no’.

Colleagues Share Their Advice

Respondents are also taking the time to share useful advice for their colleagues including:

  • ‘Try something simple first, then let your creativity lead you down new paths. Be bold and try something new. You can always return and try again. Nothing is concrete in music technology!’
  • ‘Play around with the music tech that you find fun!’
  • ‘Don’t over complicate it!’
  • ‘Liaise with the ICT/computing subject lead to understand what key skills are expected and how these can fit into the music curriculum.’
About the Digital Innovation in Music Education Alliance

The Digital Innovation in Music Education alliance was launched at the Music Mark Annual Conference in Brighton in December 2021 and is committed to raising awareness and adoption of innovative digital technologies for the benefit of children & young people’s music education. The alliance aims to be an ‘environment’ in which different expertise, knowledge and ideas can come together and be shared whilst recognising that innovation is different for different people at different stages of their learning.

Find out more about the alliance.

Complete the survey.