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Fluency in General Music and Arts Technologies: Is the Future of Music a Garage Band Mentality?

Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education Volume 4, Number 2, ISSN 1545-4517


In many ways, culture is rooted in the arts. While one may argue that "public policy debates are connected to information technology" (Snyder, et. al., 1999), public policies are also profoundly influenced by the sounds and images that form the content of all aspects of broadcast and print media. Contrary to an information technologist's reductionist perspective, animation and image creation is more than the mere movement and manipulation of bits and bytes of so-called "information." With arts-based technologies, the content and all forms of media are dependent upon the creative abilities and skills of artists, and artists learn those skills in a variety of traditional and new contexts. The author embraces a notion of "fluency" to describe the ability that all humans possess to create (e.g., compose, produce, perform) arts media (Gouzouasis, 2001; Gouzouasis, 2003; Gouzouasis & LaMonde, 2004). Fluency is defined by creative expression. While the National Research Council's Committee on Information Technology Literacy (Snyder, et. al., 1999) has chosen to promote a notion of "fluency within information technology," or FITness, the author has chosen to promote a notion of FATness (i.e., "fluency within arts technologies") as a label for the arts-based, broad understandings that are necessary in the use of emerging arts technologies. The focus of this paper is: (1) to elaborate a critical discourse on notions of fluency with arts-based technologies, particularly in a music context; (2) to explore the relationship between FITness and FATness based on criteria elaborated by the National Research Council; and (3) to discuss the dilemma that music, and music education, faces in a society where software packages such as GarageBand may enable any person to seemingly compose music without traditional forms of music knowledge and music literacy.


Gouzouasis, P. (2005). Fluency in General Music and Arts Technologies: Is the Future of Music a Garage Band Mentality?. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, 4(2),. Retrieved January 19, 2020 from .

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