Digital Skills For Musicians

Digital skills for musicians; I’m not thinking of the core tools of recording, sequencing and notating, but the apps and services that let you take your music further, to connect with others, to promote your talents, to project your identity and to continually learn.

How’s this: there are 5 main areas of digital skills for musicians (I know my apps and services suggestions are not comprehensive).
Digital Sound. This includes editing, compressing, hosting, embedding, sharing, transferring and presenting.
Apps and services like Audacity, Garageband, Soundcloud, iTunes, YouSendIt, FTP, idisk.

Digital Images. Video, photography and graphics. This includes creating, editing, compressing, hosting, embedding, sharing, transferring and presenting.
Apps and services like iMovie, iPhoto,  Flickr, Photobucket, Slideshare, YouTube, Animoto, OneTrueMedia, Xtranormal, Vimeo, Quicktime,

Have your say (self publishing
).  Blogging, micro blogging, podcasts, wikis, buying a url.  Apps and services like Twitter, WordPress, Blogger, wikispaces, iTunes and audio hosting services.

Make connections  (social networks and communications). This is about being part of the global music community. Twitter (again),  Myspace, Facebook, Ning, Imeem, LastFM, forums, commenting, Skype, iChat.

Information (finding, organising and using).  RSS, social bookmarking.  Apps and services like delicious, google.

I have a nagging urge to create an online course; Digital Skills for Musicians.  Throughout my working life I’ve had some connection with education and in recent years my passion has been centred round digital technologies and the web.  In my experience, current music courses don’t offer convincing curriculum content for the things that I see as central to learning and working in the creative industries – the social web, self publishing, and all the openness and connections that exist because of Web 2.0.

Much of the discussion around musicians and the web assumes that ‘musician’ means band or songwriter, looking to win fans and sell music.  My own experience shows that ‘musician’ can be interpreted far more broadly to cover a range of work.
In fact, if I survey 100 of my colleagues making a living from music, only a small proportion are artists/bands directly promoting themselves to fans; the rest are composers, performers, producers, engineers and arrangers.  So I’d expect the content of the course to reflect this.


I’m not starting entirely from scratch with this; I’d want to build on the content and community at

I am not an expert in web tools for musicians but therein lies one of the many benefits of the social web – expertise is readily available and shared.  Through my own learning and development with digital tools and services I believe I am well placed to facilitate learning. The course will require each individual learner to personalise their development for their own needs and interests, and demonstrate learning with practical uses of the apps and services.  Getting such a course up and running (funded and validated) is a huge task!

I’ve started a wiki to develop some content (it will necessarily never cease to evolve). For each topic there are technical and creative elements;  how do you use the app or service and how can you exploit it for your own development?  So, what have I missed?

Here’s a slideshare presentation by Jane Hart; it focuses on organisations (business and education) rather than individuals, though the concepts translate to  an individual, managing his own development.


2 responses to “Digital Skills For Musicians

  1. I’ve turned this into a Prezi at Prezi is the new PowerPoint.

  2. Update. I managed to delete my Prezi and Manchester Musician has gone off line through lack of interest from The Manchester College. Hey-ho, stick to string arranging!

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