About EdTech for Music
Hello and welcome to EdTech for Music! This blog focuses on sharing insights, advice, reviews, recommendations, and ideas about using EdTech tools for teaching and learning music. Along the way, we’ll discuss different approaches, concepts, numerous specific EdTech tools, and more importantly, their practical applications for learning and teaching music. I created this blog to share my passions for music and educational technology to help fellow musicians, music educators, and music students understand the why, how, and practical uses of EdTech tools in our field. Although I teach primarily private and group lessons, workshops, conference presentations, and college courses, it is my hope that the content on this blog will be applicable for teachers and students exploring music in a broad variety of formats and contexts.
About the Author
Benjamin Riley, M.A. is an editor, music educator, musician, writer, and website designer with a passion for incorporating EdTech tools into teaching and learning music. Ben’s interest in using educational technology for music education began during his studies at Berklee College of Music’s online school, Berklee Online. During his time at Berklee, Ben attended courses in jazz, blues, and rock guitar, music theory, and music business, experiencing firsthand the powerful and transformative capabilities of using educational technology to learn music. Shortly after the completion of his Master Certificate in Guitar from Berklee Online, Ben began to put these insights into practice as a user-centered website designer for individuals and nonprofit organizations in education and the arts.
Ben furthered his formal studies of music at Nyack College, where he studied classical guitar with Professor Glenn Sparks at Nyack College and received further instruction in music theory, music history, music technology, orchestration, conducting, and music pedagogy. During the course of completing his Bachelor’s degree, Ben also began sharing his love of music with others through teaching private and group lessons. From the beginning, Ben offered online as well as in-person options for lessons. Although many students were initially skeptical of online lessons, online lessons were a great experience for the vast majority of students who chose this option. Ben graduated from Nyack College in 2018 with a Bachelor of Music in Classical Guitar Performance, Summa Cum Laude.
In 2019, Ben began his graduate studies in music at Hunter College – CUNY. During his studies at Hunter College, Ben attended courses in a wide variety of musical disciplines, including music theory, musicology, music technology, ethnomusicology, orchestration, musicianship, style criticism, philosophies of musical identity, and research techniques. In the midst of his graduate studies, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a complete pivot to online instruction both as a student and as an educator. Because he had been teaching online for several years before COVID hit, and had been a student in online learning environments, the transition to online teaching and learning was very smooth. In fact, Ben’s private music studio experienced significant growth during this time, and Ben completed his graduate degree with a 3.96 GPA. Ben graduated from Hunter College in 2021 with a Master of Arts in Music Theory.
As a music educator, Ben is an adjunct faculty member at Westchester Community College, where he teaches remote courses specializing in music history and music theory, and teaches online guitar, bass, mandolin, ukulele, piano, and music theory lessons privately and at Rivertown Music in Nyack, New York. Ben greatly enjoys sharing his love of music through teaching, and believes that learning music should be fun, engaging, and personally fulfilling. As a result, Ben utilizes a student-centered approach that focuses on the unique needs and abilities of each student while also providing a strong foundation in traditional methods.
Ben’s approach to using EdTech tools to teach music mirrors his approach to teaching as a whole. The use of EdTech tools in courses and lessons varies depending on the unique needs, aptitudes, and preferences of each individual student (both in terms of music and technology). While some students may be more comfortable with easy to use technologies and primarily synchronous formats, other students might prefer learning with more advanced technologies and through multiple modalities. By personalizing the online learning experience, Ben strives to deliver the best of both worlds to his students, and share strategies, insights, and advice on using EdTech tools through this website to teach and learn music in a wide variety of formats and contexts.