Sunday, October 18, 2009


I use Pandora a fair amount. Pandora uses algorithms to create your own personal stations. You can have a Pat Methany station, or a Trombone station. The computer will find music and play it. Occasionally you click "I like it" and the algoritihm improves.

Now, you can't go back and play a specific song. This is a huge disadvantage. Also, as the algorithm improves I am sure there are less surprises. If you like diversity in your listening (ala college or nonprofit radio) this can be challenging.

The article in todays NYTimes about Pandora raises interesting questions about how we teach listening skills. Do you like artists or minor chords? Do you like jazz or just acoustic music? Do you like one chord tunes or complex harmony? How do you know you like it?

Should we use Pandora in class? Should we evaluate student choices? Could we use this as a tool?