Fad or future? exploring affordances of virtual worlds for music performance education

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Hill, M & Jacka, L 2013, 'Fad or future? exploring affordances of virtual worlds for music performance education', in B Merrick & D Forrest (eds), Redefining the musical landscape: inspired learning and innovation in music education XIX National Conference Proceedings, Canberra, ACT, 29 Sept - 1 Oct, Australian Society for Music Education, Parkville, Vic. ISBN: 9780980379235.


Virtual worlds have been utilised in a range of educational contexts and across sectors. Higher education institutions have been introducing virtual worlds as part of their courses nationally and internationally. Musical events in the virtual world Second Life constitute the majority of all activities in Second Life. A wide variety of live performance activities occur in Second Life encompassing a wide range of musical genres, ensemble types, clubs, venues and virtual concert spaces. This paper reports on the results to date of a pilot study at a regional university in Australia where staff and students have been exploring the use of virtual worlds for live performance. The notion of affordance is used to frame the research. Different approaches to learning design around activities associated with music performance are considered in relation to how they match the affordances of virtual worlds. Initial results from the research suggest that although there is a high degree of student and staff engagement with the technology there is a fair degree of scepticism as to the longer-term benefits of the technology. Further experimentation with live performance, particularly around the technological setup required for live audio streaming, and research into the activities of experienced Second Life performers is recommended.