Henley Review – Exploring and understanding musical instrument tuition through eLearning

In responding to the Henley Review on Music education, we sought to present the case for technology, as part of a solution, for a music education system that delivers excellence, in the practice of opportunity and, in higher levels of attainment. 

We, as a private sector contributor to music in the state sector, are encouraged by our partners, which include: Yamaha, Steinberg, ilearn2play and Pure Solo, to state that the opportunities presented by digital learning need to be better understood. We hope that the review will acknowledge that our curriculum for music could do more to deliver the aspiration, that every child should have the chance to learn a musical instrument, if we integrate technology in support of our skilled music workforces.  

In the same way that we explored how Gigajam provides some of the solutions to the problems, in music education, identified by Ofsted’s Making More of Music report, we have looked carefully at how Gigajam contributes to harnessing technology in education.

Below, we have taken BECTAs priority targets, for the use of technology in teaching and learning, and responded by stating how Gigajam can contribute to the achievement of those targets.

Harnessing Technology Priority Targets Gigajam Contribution


Put young people in the driving seat Pupils control their learning when using Gigajam. Gigajam VLE allows pupils to move through their lessons at their own pace and provides a blend of lessons and activities that the students can chose to suit their learning style.1. Each lesson provides a student with the choice of how to study. They can:

  • Follow the full multi-media lesson, using the narrated text, interactive diagrams, videos and play along interactive software.
  • Follow a television show of the lesson presented by the course writer and guided by a presenter
  • Print out the lesson instructions from a PDF
  • Interact with the lesson using the videos only version, encouraging imitation and modelling.    

eg; View the four different lessons for the first lesson of the drum course http://gigajamvle.com/content/drums.aspx

2. Students can perform together as a band at the end of each lesson allowing them the opportunity to demonstrate their progress and develop their individual instrumental skills into enssemble skills.

eg; Watch Gigajam  in action here at Bradley Stoke Community School. At the end of this, there second lesson, they come together and apply the skills they have learned to play, as a band, in a Live Performance Workshop.


3. Students can access the materials via a browser and continue practising out of lesson time. 

eg; Gigajam Online Music School – http://gigajamvle.com

Personalised learning space/ e-portfolios Each lesson contains small learning chunks, each of which has an exercise for the student to practise. Students use our simple interactive software (Xtractor) to support them practise and record their performances.eg Have a look at the learning chunk here in lesson one of the drum course:http://gigajamvle.com/content/lessons/edsLesson001/2.htmlStudents can listen back to their performances in Xtractor, as well as receive a graphical readout of how they performed comparing to how they should have performed.eg; How Gigajam workshttp://schools.gigajam.com/videochannel.aspx?id=8When happy with an attempt, they can upload their performance, directly from the software and store in an online portfolio. The protfolio utomatically scores their performance (%) and shows achieved both in terms of quantity and quality.

Students can also link video, audio and documents to each exercise to show further learning.

Learning to be fun, challenging and more productive Gigajam is a fun, hands on and engaging way to learn to play an instrument.The perception that you cannot learn a musical instrument ‘properly’  with the use of technology is a view that traditionalists alone, may hold. Sudents will acquire the ability to play, read music and knowledge of theory. They will have the essential building blocks of musical literacy that will allow them to , not only, engage more deeply with the curriculum, but be able to transfer their skills to performing live, recording and composing music.Gigajam is highly efficient, cost effective and scalable and enables whole classes of students to learn different instruments at the same time. Music education has yet to see the elephant in the room, when it comes to the scale of instrumental tuition for all, and we hope will soon begin to recognise that technology provides part of the solution that will enable all children to have the chance to learn a musical instrument.eg; Teachers can organise classes and have a variety of views to support continual, formative and summative assessment.http://schools.gigajam.com/videochannel.aspx?id=9
Use of technology in personalised learning – more flexible study Gigajam can be used at anytime, and broadly, anywhere there is a browser connected to the internet. It can be used:1. In class within the curriculum2. To support instrumental tuition with visiting instrumentalist specialists3. As part of  extended days/after school clubs/community learning/family learning, etc4. At home.
Flexible-learning resources Gigajam can be accessed in a number of ways to suit the learner, as detailed above and is also personalised so that students can see where they are in their studies.The assessment for learning engine enables teachers to communicate with students and provide commentary on students progress.
Ability to collaborate Gigajam is about developing real and transferable skills that will enable students to play in bands – a collaborative activity by definition.eg; Here are some students playing live in class during a lesson using skills they have learned and which have been applied by the teacher to learning and performing a songhttp://schools.gigajam.com/CaseStudySouthManchester.aspx

eLearning priorities

The quantity and range of resources available to teachers and learners Gigajam is a great example of a high quality eLearning resources and interactive technologies.
The quality and degree of innovation of those resources Gigajam won a BETT award  (British Education Teaching with Technology) – for innovation in ‘Content and Tools
The embedding of eLearning and ICT across the curriculum Gigajam embeds eLearning and ICT into the Music curriculum


to deliver quality and cost effective services to all …and… extend the variety of places where people learn Gigajam can be deployed across a VLE. Students can access the materials wherever they have access to a computer. The software can also be purchased by individuals for personal use.Education Service for Schools http://gigajamvle.comHome users site on monthly subscription http://www.gigajamonline.com

Enabling students to move on

Help students to move on in their careers Gigajam has an accredited programme of study that will provide Level One NQF Bronze Arts Award.These can be used as evidence of achievement for progression into FE/further study.Completion of the Gigajam courses meet the entry requirements for the 1 Year Foundation course at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance [www.icmp.uk.com] .

Support for practitioners

Good quality ICT training and support package for practitioners – a new understanding of the pedagogies appropriate for a 21st century education system. Gigajam provides training days which address the learning and teaching, and technology issues associated with delivering Gigajam in a school. Many of these are fundamental to delivering personalised learning via elearning materials.


For more information on Gigajam and teaching with technology, then please feel free to contact us at:

Brian Greene


0800 055 6797

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