Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education

Music Education in the Digital Age

Dr. Rena Upitis, Principal Investigator and Professor of Arts Education at Queen’s, and her research partners at Concordia University and The Royal Conservatory are investigating the role and effectiveness of digital tools in music education and sharing their findings with the academic community, musicians, teachers, and the general public. Their work is funded by the Partnership Grants program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and a Leadership Opportunity Grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. The funding period is from 2011 to 2018.

Music Tool Suite is a collection of digital tools created to support music learning in studio music instruction and in music classrooms. Four tools have been developed: Cadenza, Notemaker, DREAM, and iSCORE. 


Cadenza, an electronic notebook, connects teachers and students by allowing them to plan and record practice sessions and practice times and reflect on goals and learning strategies. It is available without charge at www.cadenzamusictool.ca.


Notemaker is an iOS app (http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/notemaker-cadenza/id976330102?mt=8). It is an extremely effective tool for making real-time comments on video and audio recordings and is also available without charge.  


DREAM stands for Digital Resource Exchange About Music. It is designed to provide teachers with easy access to digital resources related to music education, and studio instruction, in particular. It works on any desktop, laptop or mobile device and is available without charge at www.dreammusictool.ca.


iSCORE, a web-based practice and communication tool for music classrooms, was released in 2012 and re-released in 2013. It is available in English and French and is free of charge.

The Research & Development Team

Dr. Rena UpitisThe development of The Music Tool Suite is a collaboration of Queen’s University, the Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance (CSLP) at Concordia University in Montreal, and The Royal Conservatory (RCM), headquartered in Toronto. The design and development phase was funded by Canadian Heritage, TELUS, and the Matthews Family, with contributions from Concordia, Queen’s, and The RCM. Ongoing funding is from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), The RCM, and Queen’s. The involvement of The RCM ended in February 2017.

The research is led by Dr. Rena Upitis, with Dr. Philip Abrami, the Director of CSLP at Concordia, representing the continuing partners (2017–2020).