VEMUS (Virtual European Music School) aims at developing and thoroughly validating an open, highly interactive and networked multilingual music tuition framework for popular instruments such as the flute, the saxophone, the clarinet and the recorder. The system will address students of beginning to intermediate level. The VEMUS environment will integrate innovative, pedagogically-motivated e-learning components to augment traditional music teaching in different learning settings:
- Self-practicing: A set of tools will be designed to enhance self-practising, at home or in the lab, by making practising sessions much more informative, constructive and enjoyable. Automatic performance evaluation and structured high-level feedback tailored to each student is expected to maximise the effectiveness of practicing at home.
- Music classroom: VEMUS will explore and validate innovative tools to support music teaching in group settings, be it teaching aids to support the teacher, or tools to support collaborative learning and group activities. These will provide the basis for introducing VEMUS to the classroom enhancing the music tuition procedures and the student learning experience.
- Distance learning extensions: The VEMUS environment will provide distance learning extensions; maintaining and managing an open content repository, offering authoring tools to augment it, providing communication tools and allowing remote coaching of students and monitoring of their progress through time. These features will help to further build on the student-teacher relationship also allowing the participation of students which might else be impossible due to geographic or other constraints.
Addressing these three distinct but complementary learning environments through an environment and interoperable tools, will permit VEMUS to smoothly blend e-learning with traditional face-to-face lessons. These will provide the technological and pedagogical basis for a virtual meeting and practicing place for students and teachers from around Europe: a Virtual European Music School. The introduction of novel technological tools for music tuition will allow for the exploration of new teaching practices in music that will enrich the traditional procedures.
VEMUS will build on the results and the existing platform and tools developed and preliminarily validated in the context of the successful IMUTUS project that concluded recently. IMUTUS (IST-2001-32270) delivered an efficient self-practicing environment with automatic high-level performance assessment features and a distance learning infrastructure for sharing learning content and for communication. The assessment and validation activities of IMUTUS have provided clear evidence for the strong potential of the introduced approach for instrument practice.
VEMUS will bring that approach further, extending to new learning environments and covering the needs of additional learning settings and a wider audience. VEMUS will elaborate on the distance learning environment and enhance the learning objects with additional meaningful and well-motivated metadata that will allow the characterization content on the basis of basic musical and instrument control skills. Highly innovative classroom features such as collaborative authoring and sharing of resources and learning objects in the classroom will also be explored to ensure a consistent link between working in the classroom and working at home on material collected in the classroom.
The VEMUS Consortium includes 6 countries, 3 of which are new or candidate member states. VEMUS gathered in its ranks all the necessary expertise from the critical areas involved and clearly adopts a European dimension with the participation of partners from 6 countries, 3 of which are new or candidate member states. Using music as the main vehicle and engaging groups in different countries and diverse contexts, VEMUS seeks to reach people from different backgrounds and cultures, creating cultural links and ensuring a larger sharing of knowledge and research results and a larger impact.
VEMUS adopts a strongly user-centered approach, with user groups actively participating throughout the lifetime of the project: from requirements, to field-tests, evaluation activities, and over. This network will help achieve a wider spread of the project results and raise awareness on music e-learning. The high participation of user groups in the consortium assures a strongly user-centered implementation process and brings to the project the opportunity to develop its approach at an even larger scale and to address critical factors that will provide the basis for wider subsequent deployment initiatives.
With planned market-related activities and the participation of SME’s, one of which is a major music house in Greece with significant and prolonged experience in the field, VEMUS will also be able to incorporate a market-oriented dimension, investigating, planning and pursuing opportunities for the exploitation of the project results.
Currently, there is no commercial or other system that incorporates the features planned for VEMUS. Existing systems cover isolated parts and, most of times, do so very poorly. If IMUTUS has been an innovation in self-practicing, VEMUS can revolutionize music tuition by presenting a complete approach covering individuals, groups and music classes, as well as organizations such as music schools and conservatories, and seamlessly blending e-learning and innovative technological enhancements with traditional face-to-face lessons in a complete learning setting.