This research project focuses on how livestreaming is transforming music pedagogy, curriculum design, and ultimately higher education. From bedrooms, closets, and amateur home studios, a growing number of musicians are delivering concerts to remote audiences across the world, interacting with fans through live chat, patronage, and endless hours of streaming requests. In addition, livestreaming has largely replaced traditional person-to-person musical instruction. As a result of necessity, accessibility, and/or creative possibility, these musicians have turned away from traditional venues in favor of digital worlds. I have been documenting the stories of these musicians at a pivotal time, when COVID has kept many of us inside and pushed us towards deeper digital connections with one another. I am grateful to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress for funding the initial stages of this research.
This project, captured by my book manuscript with the same title, addresses the ways performers on digital platforms treat listening as an expressive act. The book features case studies on reaction videos, air guitar competitions, lip syncing apps, and music podcasts. These practices transform the ways people interact with popular music, inviting them to treat music reception as the subject of powerful performances. I focus on shifting listening norms in general and the experiences of disabled people in particular. I show how listening norms entail many bigger questions about bodily abilities and typical consumers. I hope this project can transform some of the ways people teach music in higher ed, as well as expand broader cultural conceptions of listening beyond the ears and the mind.