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Grand Challenges: Music Education for All Through Personalized AI and Digital Humanities

Grant Type: Team Project Grant
Topics: Racial and Social Justice, Ethical Technology
Colleges Represented: ARHU, CMNS

Grand Challenges Grants Program


Scientific studies in modern times have repeatedly proven that playing an instrument impacts brain development, academic achievement, and mental health. Learning to play a musical instrument, however, constitutes a lengthy and complex process. Private music instruction is costly, therefore afforded only by a privileged part of the world population. Many students from low-income, rural, black, and brown communities do not have access to music education. The pandemic provided an unexpected opportunity to shift this paradigm, as technology allowed instructors to provide remote music lessons outside the usual circle of students. This context demonstrated the clear need and tremendous opportunity to reach the underrepresented student population with music education while developing new technology for teaching and learning. Building on the research team’s existing research and data collection started in March 2020, and insights gained in virtual education during the pandemic, this project will develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform, VAIolin, that will democratize music education. This project demonstrates a decisive stance against the inequality inherent in traditional music instruction and aims to build an innovative method to share music with all communities, including those who are so often left out and behind. This platform will integrate technology into the mechanism of learning an instrument and use AI to assist in the process of mastering principles and skills, facilitating self-analysis, and enhancing independent learning. This work will impact music students (including those who are self-taught), as well as teachers and parents supervising young musicians worldwide.

Team Members:

PI: Irina Muresanu (ARHU), Associate Professor, Violin Strings

Cornelia Fermüller (CMNS), Research Scientist, UMIACS, ISR

Team Project Video:

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