A course that seeks to reach and engage new learner demographics through the application of digital technology is the Certificate in the Practice of Music Making (CPMM). This distance-learning course on practical music making was developed by Trinity Laban Conservatoire in partnership with the Open University. It uses reflective learning to enable musicians to develop an understanding of their personal culture and practice of music making in relation to others. It encourages students to observe each other’s differences of approach, which leads to a heightened awareness of their own practice and culture in return. The CPMM has evidenced that virtual spaces can remove barriers and enable musicians to create new and fruitful collaborations, as well as lead to the examination of assumptions that otherwise would have remained unchallenged.
This paper will draw on the lessons learned from the experiences of the first two cohorts of CPMM students and demonstrate how digital technologies can enable the teaching of creative practice to a diverse student demographic at distance. The paper will also address new initiatives that have resulted from a re-examination of how technology can better support teaching in conservatoire contexts, and it will argue for the benefit of implementing low-tech solutions to widen access and participation.