Cooperative activities represent a very important aspect in music education. Since the beginning of her/his music studies, a musician needs to collaborate in groups for many activities, such as choir, large and small orchestras, chamber music, instrument classes and other class activities for theory training.
In general there are many studies stressing the importance of cooperative and collaborative activities in contrast to students' inactive acquisition of information. In fact cooperative learning activities can involve groups of students working together to maximise each other's learning. After receiving instructions from a teacher, groups work until all students involved have successfully understood and completed the activity
In the early 1970s researchers started to investigate in depth specific applications of cooperative learning activities in classrooms. The conclusion was that "cooperative learning produces higher achievement, more positive relationships among students, and healthier psychological adjustment than do competitive or individualistic experiences", more frequent generation of new ideas and solutions and greater transfer of what is learned within one situation to another.
I-MAESTRO implements a technology support for collaborative activities in music.
A distributed system with CSCW features must be capable of showing music in different formats and at the same time must support cooperative editing of music in different formats, which means showing the changes of one operator to the other ones in real time.
The I-MAESTRO solution covers the following areas:
studying and developing of the I-MAESTRO middleware for cooperative applications in music called: Cooperative Support for Music Training. Various I-MAESTRO compliant applications will communicate with each other by using the middleware even for other activities.
managing dynamically the configuration of the P2P network for CSCW, considering profiles of the tools and of the pupils involved: dynamic discovery, errors reporting, managing additional command lists and undo facility, distributed and centralized storage of information such as lessons, profiles, configurations, versions, profiles, configuration and profile manager, etc.
studying and development of a specific model and tools to support cooperative music training supporting Symbolic and Practice Training paradigms and related higher level tools: music editor, music tool for play training, tools for compositional training, etc., all in a cooperative manner.
managing cooperative editing, versioning and selective non-linear undo facility extended to all symbols of the music score and not only to basic figures, keeping separate the changes performed by different students, filtering them, integrating them, problems of consistency and completeness;
managing synchronisation amongst the different I-MAESTRO Client tools (for teachers, conductors, pupils, etc.) on a local or distributed environment. Primitives to access at level of I-MAESTRO Training Specification Language will be developed to allow specifying cooperative integrations among actors in the cooperative environment and to allow data and command exchange, playing different roles in different contexts according to the definition/specification of the exercises.
Portable Cooperative Support for Music Training to work on Personal Computers, tablet PCs, and also on PDAs.
Assessment of the cooperative work impact on music education
The Client Manager User interface
Cooperative multimodal session
Example of cooperative ear training exercise, teacher view