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Music College's Conducting Class Goes High Tech

Varnished wood. Rosin and bow strings. Well cared for reeds. These are the images that spring to mind when one thinks of classical music--a realm seemingly rooted in tradition and antiquity--but that's not the case at the Berklee College of Music.

Professors at the the world's largest independent music college will use Notion Conducting from music instruction software maker Notion Music to teach more than 800 students enrolled in its 2007-2009 conducting program.

To better understand how to lead a group, or even a whole orchestra of musicians, the conducting students will learn their craft in an integrated instruction environment that incorporates the Notion software, computer workstations, and curriculum materials.

The software lets students learn and practice how to conduct a responsive, "virtual orchestra," based on sound excerpts from the London Symphony Orchestra, at any time. The system provides playback and tempo control features based on its Notion music composition and playback software to let students practice conducting scores of varying difficulty.

In addition to being installed on workstations at a school, the system can also be install on student laptops to facilitate self-learning or complete homework or independent study assignments.

"Notion allows the students to go beyond learning the basics of conducting to developing their own interpretations of a score in an environment that provides direct and immediate feedback, much like working with a live orchestra," said David Mash, the school's vice president of technology.

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About the Author

David Kopf is a freelance technology writer and marketing consultant, and can be reached at [email protected].

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