Music Tech – Intro

Persistent Obstacles and Fresh Opportunities

A White Paper by ArtsInteractive

Title Image reading: “Music Tech: Rethinking the Undergraduate Curriculum; Persistent Obstacles and Fresh Opportunities; A White Paper by ArtsInteractive”


A text box showing recent publisher investments in digital formats: ALEKS (adaptive learning technology by McGraw-Hill): $200 million; Pearson Ventures (capital for ed tech startups): $50 million; Cengage Unlimited (digital text subscription services): 1 million subscriptions

In recent years educational publishers have invested heavily in new technologies. In 2013, McGraw-Hill acquired the digital adaptive learning platform ALEKS for $200 million.[1] Earlier this year, Pearson announced Pearson Ventures, with $50 million worth of funding to be invested in independent ed tech startups.[2] The overall textbook industry is slowly shifting as publishers strive to reap rewards from their investments. In February, Cengage announced that over a period of seven months it had sold more than 1 million subscriptions to its online service Cengage Unlimited.[3]

Because of their inherently multimedia nature—music, text, images, graphics, and video—college music courses lend themselves particularly well to digital treatment. This white paper explores the effectiveness of today’s course materials in light of these new opportunities. We find that while progress has been made, there remains enormous room for significant, even transformative improvements. After examining current models and goals of music higher ed, we identify seven areas where current texts fall short of meeting these goals, and conclude by proposing solutions.

[1] EdWeek Market Brief. “McGraw-Hill Education Signals Plans to Become Public Company.” Michele Molnar. September 4, 2015.

[2] Tech Crunch. “Pearson is committing $50M to fund next-gen edtech startups.” Kate Clark. April 10, 2019.

[3] Inside Higher Ed. “Cengage Unlimited Hits 1 Million Subscriptions.” Lindsay McKenzie. February 25, 2019.


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