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Rick Peckham, Berkleemusic Online Guitar Instructor
“You can’t teach music online!” That’s what we heard time and again back in 2002, when we first began making plans for Berkleemusic.com, the online continuing education division of Berklee College of Music. And now 16,000 students, 75 countries, 85 courses, 30 certificate programs, and three National Awards later, “You can’t teach music online” has changed to a rousing affirmation that you CAN, in fact, teach music online; quite effectively, indeed! All you need is strong leadership, the best staff, and the finest faculty all working together to make it happen. These are the ingredients of Berkleemusic.com!
Online learning, also known as distance learning, has the attention of every major university in the world, most offering online degrees, certificates, and individual courses. Distance learning draws upon hundreds of years of established pedagogical principles and offers a student-centric approach to education. Berkleemusic is an example of a distance learning program founded in tradition. It all started in the early 1950s with Berklee’s original Correspondence Course, a 25-week “Berklee-by-mail” course in music theory and arranging. That early distance-learning initiative had the very same primary goal as the online school does today—to expand Berklee’s reach and provide educational opportunities by bringing Berklee to those who simply could not get to Boston.
What is it like to teach and learn music online? In this two-part series, we will look at online music education from the teacher’s side of the desk. Stay tuned!