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Exploring the Power of Music and Technology in Social Work: A Recap of My Seminar Experience @ MHL

I'm excited to share with you that the seminar module "Musizieren im digitalen Raum" (Making Music in the Digital Space) is now officially over! The seminar was part of a one-year course on "Musik in der Sozialen Arbeit/Community Music" (Music in Social Work/Community Music) offered by the Musikhochschule Lübeck (Music Conservatory of Lübeck) in Germany.

Let me tell you, preparing for this seminar was no easy feat. I had to put in a lot of thought and effort into how to focus on social work using the power of music and technology. I wanted to ensure that every single method we explored was totally inclusive, so that even people with no prior music-making experience could feel that they could try and be musical. That's why I had to come up with lots of completely new activities and methods and also adjust much of my material for an audience that is not necessarily going to be giving a music lesson online but who would work in the social work field using music and technology. My students were a very interesting mix of very experienced social workers, music educators, music bachelor students, and professional musicians.

The course was all about creating engaging and creative online and digital music learning opportunities. We explored playful approaches to music in the digital space, didactic integration of suitable software, tools and online platforms, digital methodology, teaching and learning strategies, and ensuring safety and trust as a foundation for online work. The course aimed to develop various competencies among the participants, including understanding diverse music-related digital activities, tools, and platforms, applying online collaboration tools in creating learning opportunities, and creating music-related online activities for a group while taking into account the needs and energy of the participants.

We learned that many of these digital methods and music-making techniques can also be used in-person with groups. Actually because we don't want to work strictly in a digital format like if it was during the strict Corona isolation times.

During the course, I tried to push the creativity of my students to the limit so that they would not only see a bunch of digital platforms, but also learn how to use them to motivate their participants to express themselves musically. And to get that kind of result, you as a facilitator need to step into your creativity zone and think of ways in which you can make your activities and methodology really exciting for your target group.

The seminar module was 15 hours long, with five meetings of three hours each. It was a practical and hands-on course, and we had the chance to try out all sorts of ideas. Today, during our last session, we had the presentations of everyone's musical online activities, and let me tell you, it was a blast! We even had a super funny "what's the name of that song" session where we sang with our mouths full of water! That was really hilarious.

We also had a Rap Freestyle Jam Party online using the latest in reduced latency technology, and it was incredible to feel that we could jam in sync with all of us being very far from each other.

Combining my two areas of work, music in the social context and music education supported by digital and online platforms, was a rare treat. In my line of work, I take advantage of all these ideas to connect teenagers who are isolated or communities that are far from each other. Thanks to technology, I can do lots of hybrid work and bring people together through the power of music, play, and technology. So I'm grateful I could share my insights, experience in the field and my creativity through my methods and share them with this very interesting group of professionals. This work actually combines 3 of my lines of work, which is "Professional education based on motivation and human connection" - "Profound & Sound" (Facilitating community development through sound & play) and "Online teaching and learning strategies based on motivation and human connection".

As someone who works in the music education and social work realm, this course was particularly meaningful for me. I got to combine my two areas of expertise and explore new ways to connect people through music and technology. I'm grateful for the opportunity to push my students to be creative and expressive and to show them how digital platforms can be used to motivate and inspire others.

Overall, it was a fulfilling and rewarding experience, I'm looking forward to applying all these new ideas in my future projects, and I'm certainly very curious to know how my students of the seminar will apply all of these learnings in their future work. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more updates!



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