Name: Professor Leigh Landy
Position: Director of Music, Technology & Innovation Centre
Faculty: Art, Design & Humanities
Research Topic: Electro Acoustic Resource Site (EARS2)
About Professor Leigh Landy
Professor Leigh Landy is involved in an educational project that has a potential for global outreach. The project, entitled ‘EARS2‘, is an outcrop of an existing educational resource, EARS (ElectroAcoustic Resource Site). The EARS webpage which is available at: www.ears.dmu.ac.uk can regularly see traffic of 20,000 visits per month and is a respected example of DMU’s academic success in regards to acoustics, music technology and electroacoustic music. The EARS2 website can be found here: www.ears2.dmu.ac.uk
About Professor Landy’s Research
The key distinction between EARS and EARS2 is that the new EARS2 resource is targeted not only at academics, researchers or musicians, but is primarily intended for use as an educational tool in schools; particularly students at Key Stage 3 (11-14 year olds). However, this designation is not intended to limit the scope of the project to one specific age group, and it should be noted that the EARS2 resource, once fully operational, will be a platform for learning in a hands-on and interactive manner whether by a child or an adult. The website offers three main areas of exploration in the form of the banners ‘Create; Learn; and Listen‘. This allows for the composition of sample-based piece, the observation of music theory concepts, musical history and technical processes, and a library of existing repertoire for users to listen to and expand their musical palette.
The most captivating and exciting aspect of Professor Landy’s research is the highly visual nature of the learning process offered via EARS2. Users can explore a world of everyday sounds, dropping them into a ‘Sequencer Window’ and specifically manipulating the sonic characteristics of individual sound samples. Parameters such as ‘gain’ and ‘reverb’ can be explored using the visual aid of a computer graphic – resizing the room with a slider bar increases and decreases the amount of reverberation applied to the sample in a simple yet engaging demonstration of sound processing. This visual approach to the learning and teaching of both musical and technical concepts offers so much more mental stimulation than a paragraph in a textbook, and its potential to capture the interest of young minds is immediately evident.
EARS2 has already received funding from several organisations, including the European Union, demonstrating the vast potential of the project and the willingness of international parties to partake in the use of the resource. The process of its creation is, nevertheless, an ongoing venture and is inevitably influenced by the availability of additional funding, but it is encouraging to see the enthusiasm of so many educational authorities and generous third parties.
Next Step for Professor Landy’s Research
Professor Landy, along with his colleagues and associates, have a long-term plan for this educational resource and it is that it can be incorporated into musical curriculums in multiple countries, with multilingual support. He aspires for the programme to become an educational tool that will broaden the scope of musical education and make the process of learning more entertaining for both teacher and pupil. Professor Landy and his associates intend to disseminate the resource and an accompanying bespoke software (available on both PC and Macintosh platforms) via modestly priced ‘Teaching Packs’, with ‘Beginner; Intermediate; and Advanced’ levels of complexity. This will ensure that the resource is accessible to both the novice and the musical virtuoso, and does not discriminate based on prior expertise.
The EARS2 project has a promising future in worldwide musical education, and its conception and development are years in the making. The future of both musical teaching and learning is very much at our doorstep, and the impact it will make is sure to be tremendous.