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University of the Arts London

Embracing diversity: The role of asynchronous online learning in building musical communities


This article demonstrates how digital technologies have enabled creative practice to be taught at a distance. It discusses how digital tools have facilitated the establishment of an online community of musicians working in diverse genres, who would never normally meet due to barriers of distance and culture. The article draws on the experiences of students undertaking a new distance-learning module, which uses reflective learning to enable musicians to develop a better understanding of their personal culture and practice of making music. At a residential learning week near the end of the module, these musicians met – physically – for the first time and synthesized learning to create original musical interpretations.


distance learning, asynchronous learning, social constructivism, diversity, Music education, conservatoire


Author Biography

Dr Aleksander Szram

Dr Aleksander Szram is Programme Leader for the Foundation Music Certificates and the Certificate in the Practice of Music Making at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where he is also a Principal Lecturer and a member of the Piano Professorial Staff. His research activities are focused on two areas: the performance and recording of contemporary piano repertoire, and the application of Freirean pedagogical approaches in conservatoire settings. He has released many CDs for Prima Facie and Nimbus, and is published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Dr Dario van Gammeren

Dr Dario van Gammeren works as Technology Enhanced Learning Specialist at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where he leads on the development and implementation of digital technologies that support a blended approach to curriculum delivery. He is also Lecturer in Academic Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music and Associate Lecturer for the Open University. His research focuses on the creative use of educational technologies to widen access and participation in Higher Education music programmes.


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