Mashup The Music Classroom

Presented at the Technology Institute for Music Educators (TI:ME) / Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) 2011 National Conference in Cincinnati, OH


“Mashup” is a content aggregation technology where two or more sources are integrated to create new, enriched data. For example, when two or more previously recorded musical audio samples, or other forms of media such as still images and video, are layered together in such a way as to uniquely interact with each other, a “mashup” is created. Over the past decade, an entire underground “mashup culture” has emerged from an online community of artists who create, share and remix mashups. For the most part, these artists have been raised in the digital age and are very comfortable using technology for communication, information, and creation. Deemed as being defiant, unoriginal, and unruly, this new culture appears to take pride in frequent disregard for ownership and copyright laws. Furthermore, mashups are often referred to as an unoriginal art form that lacks creativity. This relatively new genre, however, has been steadily growing in popularity, making for an engaging pedagogical music topic for students of all ages. The goal of this presentation is to provide music educators with positive ways to incorporate mashup activities into their classrooms as well as explain the concepts that students can learn and skills that can be gained from producing and sharing mashups using creative and legal methods. This presentation addresses the argument of creativity and originality surrounding the concept of a mashup as well as copyright issues that arise when creating mashups.