Concurrent Session 1

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

If a computer scientist, a musician, and a graphic designer can collaborate to create an innovative system for teaching/learning Carolingian chant online, what can collaboration do for you?  Come and see what we have done, what true collaboration required, and brainstorm how collaboration can take your work to new levels.


Edward Schaefer is professor of music at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. He is also the director the Florida Schola Cantorum, a group of dedicated singers of chant and polyphony. The Florida Schola was founded in 2008 and provides music regularly for the extra-ordinary form Mass in Ocala, as well as for special events in the southeast and elsewhere. In the last decade, the Schola has sung for the Southeast conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) (2010), the conference, Chant grégorien, acte liturique: du cloître à la cite in Paris, France (2011), conferences in Miami and Pittsburgh on the music of Charles Tournemire (2011, 2012), and the conference of the Florida State chapter of ACDA (2015). Dr. Schaefer holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Catholic University of America. He has also studied chant at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, the monasteries at Solesmes and Fontgombault, and with chant scholars in the United States and Europe. He recorded with the Choeur Grégorien de Paris for the BBC and on the recording Louis Vierne: Messe Solennelle, Opus 16 (Jav Recordings #179). He has a particular interest in the interpretation of the early notations of the St. Gall and Laon manuscripts and its application to contemporary performance. Dr. Schaefer is the translator of Daniel Saulnier’s Les Modes Grégoriens and Le Chant Grégorien, both published by Solesmes. He is also the author of Catholic Music Through the Ages, published by Hillenbrand, and auther/editor of Missa Cantata: A Notated Sacramentary, Cantáta Evangélium: A Notated Book of Gospels.

Extended Abstract

Description and Goals


  1. Demonstrate/interact with an online program designed to facilitate the teaching/learning of Carolingian chant – AND – to demonstrate a model for the teaching/learning of any subject that has a foundational vocabulary of terms and a set grammar and syntax for those terms;
  2. Discuss the advantages of interdisciplinary collaboration and methods of overcoming the challenges of the same;
  3. Brainstorm ways that the tools in this session might applied to other topics in other disciplines.

Overview of the Project

(Abstract: If a computer scientist, a musician, and a graphic designer can collaborate to create an innovative system for teaching/learning Carolingian chant online, what can collaboration do for you?  Come and see what we have done, what true collaboration required, and brainstorm how collaboration can take your work to new levels.)

This project began with a conversation with a fellow chant scholar.  I asked him for permission to use some worksheets that he had developed for a class.  He graciously granted me the permission with the request that I acknowledge them as his and not distribute them outside my class because he was going to “publish them in a workbook.”  My private reaction was, “a workbook?  Really?  Is that the best we can do today?”

This led to several conversations with the Digital Worlds Institute at the University of Florida about how we might teach early music notation more effectively with what we know about pedagogy and with the various technologies that are available.  The result has been a set of tools to assist a blended learning environment.  These tools consist of instructional videos, different types of exercises, reviews, tests, and even embedded Quizlet tools, all of which are designed to assist in the learning of the basic musical vocabulary and syntax of two of the earliest music notation systems in the West.  The program gives students the basic information and understanding of these musical systems that they need to engage a professor regarding the art of interpreting/performing the music.

The programming of all the exercises and activities in the site is 100% complete.  You can peruse the site here:  http://research.dwi.ufl.edu/chant/. 

The video format is set.  One has been completed.  You can see it here:  https://vimeo.com/184117136. By November of 2017 at least 25% of the instructional videos will be complete, more than enough to demonstrate the methodology of the videos and their application to the overall program.

The Session

This session will consist of the following:

  • Discussion:  I will ask the participants to identify a topic/subject around which they would like to develop better learning tools.  There may be a large response or only a small response.  That does not matter.  The purpose is simply to generate some ideas, ideas that form the basis for exploration/brainstorming later in the session.
  • Interactive Demonstration (Goal 1): The demonstration will consist of two parts:

Participants will walk through a video and some of the exercises in the program.  Participants will work with a mixture of technologies (video, exercises of various types, assessments, links to already-existing technology tools, such as Quizlet).  They will experience one way of mixing a number of technologies/pedagogical tools in order to supplement face-to-face instruction with online assistance – the use of technology to help flip the classroom.

  • They will experiment with as many as time allows.  (The point is not to develop proficiency in early notation.  The point is to experience of different tools that they might be able to apply to their own projects.
  • The purpose of the demonstration is partially to demonstrate the program itself, but even more so help the participants see the exponential value that collaboration can bring to a project.


  • Collaboration (Goal 2): I will share/demonstrate what was required in the collaborative process for success.  We’ll have a short open discussion regarding some of the challenges of collaboration and how they might be solved.
  • Brainstorming for broader Applications (Goal 3): We will return to the topics mentioned at the beginning of the session and brainstorm as a group ideas that the session may have generated about how the some of the tools demonstrated might be applied to other topics/disciplines.

Some possible questions to facilitate the brainstorming:

  • What did the demonstration trigger in terms of possible ways to engage their own project?
  • What would their project need that they cannot provide?
  • Who could provide what they cannot?
  • What might a completed project look like, at least conceptually?     


And one final note:  Having spent three years developing the project, we have concluded that, even though we think our system is pretty cool, if students also draw the ancient neums (notation groups) they will engage a tactile learning sense in a way that our program does not.  The students still do need a workbook.