Volume 18, February 2024
E-portfolios as Learning Tools for Applied Double Bass Study; a Research-Based, Practice Oriented Approach

by Mark Elliot Bergman

7. Other considerations for e-portfolios in applied double bass study

E-portfolios offer many opportunities for learners to collect, curate, and reflect upon self-created artifacts. In addition to the materials referenced above, e-portfolios can also contribute to the growth of double bass students by asking them to collect and reflect on the following:

  • Recordings of instrumentalists they admire (including hyperlinks)
  • Practice journals
  • Musical goals (general and specific to a particular performance)
  • Artistic identity and motivations
  • Self-talk and resiliency
  • Musical entrepreneurism

Individual instructors may choose to emphasize certain aspects of training. Furthermore, incorporating e-portfolios as a learning tool does not require a teacher to embrace all aspects of e-portolio learning. Just like instrumental education, embracing e-portfolios can be an iterative and incremental process. As Chenette (2016) noted, "one of the most difficult aspects of changing one's teaching is prioritizing change: even teachers who enthusiastically agree with the aims and methods of a curricular change can feel overwhelmed when it comes to actually figuring out how much to do in a given class and term. Unless one has unlimited time, change must, of necessity, be incremental" (p.6). Instructors can collect student artifacts based on educational goals, and these goals may evolve. After all, "Reflecting on practice is an essential skill for teachers" too (The Penn State School of Music, 2022, para. 2).

More broadly, curated e-portfolios allow learners to engage in critical thinking and autodidactic learning that transfers across disciplines. In this context, the specific nature of the discipline (excellence in double bass playing) is less relevant than the broader pedagogic and andragogic goals of learning how to learn. Self-reflection, critical thinking, and problem-solving are central to the specific nature of this study but have broader implications and applications. Just as scale studies and bow stroke analysis are steppingstones to more fulfilling music-making, self-reflective musical study is a steppingstone to more fulfilling living.

It is sometimes said that teachers are in the business of making themselves redundant. In other words, the best teachers provide their students with the tools to teach themselves. The most successful manifestations of e-portfolio learning leverage technology to help learners become their own teachers. In this way, teachers can extend the teaching and learning process beyond the few precious years we have with our students.