I’m excited to be going to Tallinn Music Week next week, and to be on a panel talking about how Music Business Education might shape up in the future. What might it look like? Who might be doing it? Where might they be doing it? I’m curious to discuss, with some real experts in this stuff, from DJs to Culture Ministers, Policy Advisors to University Directors.

Between say 2008 and 2012 or so, I racked up lots of Air Miles going to International Showcase events like this. Lots of those countries’ export budgets were not entirely wasted, as there were plenty of tours and first time trips/festival appearances that happened as a result of my being at them. Canadian, Norwegian, French, Belgian, Dutch, Aussie, Kiwi, Irish and loads more, came to these shores for the first time on account of the contacts made when I was out there on those trips.

This time however, I’m an expert educator. Am I? I don’t always feel so much. I do have some chops, and I have some thoughts on how it might all be going. Not only in Music Business Education but in the wider sector.

“Just being educated is not going to build the world we want to build. After all what’s the point of education? It is to help people contribute to society and to build a world that is better than this one” (Gilbert, 2018).

I expect to see more online teaching and learning, and in more innovative ways. I expect to see it being delivered to young people for free (up to degree level), with innovative ways of funding. Young people shouldn’t have to move to a big city, indeed should be encouraged to appreciate the value of the music scenes in their area (or start their own). Tech can do this. Great educators can support this. The industry can support this. Tech and great initiatives can make it easy for the industry to have a shaping hand in developing the talent pipeline.

Teachers will get better and better at teaching online, live or recorded (many places are pompously calling this “synchronous vs asynchronous” — it means the same as “live vs recorded”).

In the UK, there will be a larger international cohort of students from further afield than the EU than we have become used to. As a result of this I wonder whether we’ll be expected to tailor the approach in any way, to accommodate the expectations of the student-consumer. Progress made in student-centred but lecturer-led classroom teaching — might this be at peril due to consumer of cultural demands?

How do we best foster a culture of collaboration and a co-operative classroom in an online setting? I tried a number of approaches last year. Sometimes it worked well. Others less so. Sometimes you’re just simply at the mercy of a group that really struggles to gel.

Software can be a cheap and effective way to achieve differentiation — adaptive learning systems, AI, Machine Learning, all can contribute to the individual’s learning journey, and a bot can get to know an individual in a dispassionate, non-judgemental way a human cannot. Add this functionality to a top-drawer team of educators and the possibilities become very powerful indeed. David Perell makes the point that software allows scalability of the personal touch: the differentiation that proves so important to so many, which has hitherto only been available in a classroom.

Education in The Music Business can learn so much from Education in other sectors. Online can learn from fitness and Yoga teachers, therapists and coaches who have been doing this stuff for years. And vice versa.

In some of my work lately, we have been discussing how we make sure the student is as supported as possible, in an authentic and exciting online and real world environment, by a mixture of expert educators, great tech, and trail-blazing industry practitioners.

I reckon the whole sector is making great progress on this stuff. I’m looking forward to discussing how other folks at these top positions in Estonia are finding the progress.

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