Transatlantic Critical Listening

Transatlantic Critical Listening

Music Technology

United Kingdom / United States

A three-way model of music production involving transatlantic peer assessment and employer-engaged assessment



The music industry is global and practitioners form part of an interconnected network (Watson 2014). Furthermore, it is highly collaborative (Negus 1992, Kealey 1979), consists of networks of ‘collective intelligence’ (Levy 1997), and practices peer production (Tapscott and Williams 2006). Graduates entering therefore need global, technologically-enabled collaborative skills.

Despite this need, and even given the established benefits of collaborative learning (Brufree 1999, Barkley et al 2005), institutions often work alone. This project, which began with Coventry University, New York University and industry organisation JAMES harnessed emerging technology to bring together learners and practitioners throughout the world. Its ‘action-research’ aim was firstly, to pilot innovative approaches to teaching and learning using emergent technologies which would secondly, enable the formation of a model which could then be adopted globally. Beyond the initial partners, the project also involved Stellenbosch University, the University of Michigan, Macquarie University and the Australian National University with further commercial partners such as Flipside Studios.

Key activities included:

  • Transatlantic critical listening where recordings produced by UK students were assessed in real time via video conference by US students. The same approach was then reversed with partners.
  • Three-way critical listening where a world renowned record producer assessed recordings from the US and UK in realtime via video conference
  • Collaborative mixing projects where UK students worked with material from  HE and industry partners in the US and South Africa which were then assessed by the originator (commercial or HE)
  • Sound Design projects where film sound design works produced by UK students were used by Australian Film students as part of their learning, feedback on which was then fed back to the UK students
  • Recording Studio/Acoustic Design projects where UK-based students designed recording studios to be built in Australia
  • Mastering projects where material from South Africa was mastered (finished) by students in the US

Digital Tools

Skype, blogging software, video editing software, YouTube, SoundCloud, Google Hangouts, Pro Tools, Logic, Propellorheads Reason, Reactor.