Dr. Nathan Bowen – Fostering Electronic Music Performers from the Ground Up

Dr. Nathan Bowen

Assistant Professor, Moorpark College

Instrumental Methods Classes as a Model for Music Technology Pedagogy

Many undergraduate students in music technology come to the discipline via desktop or laptop computers, using a digital audio workstation (DAW) to produce their own beats or songs, frequently done without a live aspect of music making. In addition to fixed media composition, the college level is typically the place where topics of embodied real-time electronic music performance are introduced. How do we take an interested music maker from a non-performative use of technology and to playing live? How is this done when the means of live electronic instrumentation are multifaceted, sometimes custom-made to a composition, and often not codified? Furthermore, with a sliding scale of automation vs. live execution of sonic events, how do we as instructors mentor students toward increased risk-taking, increased performer ‘responsibility’ (as opposed to hitting the play button), and allowing mistakes to be perceived by the audience? This presentation will focus on pedagogical strategies to help create a community and culture within an undergraduate music program toward live electronic music performance.


Nathan Bowen received his doctorate in music composition at the CUNY Graduate Center, studying with Douglas Geers, Amnon Wolman, and Tania León. His dissertation on mobile phone music received the Barry Brook Dissertation Award. His work on mobile phone music has garnered invitations to conduct research at IRCAM with the Real Time Interactions Team in Paris and Goldsmiths in London. He has presented at Expo ’74 Brooklyn, SEAMUS, ICMC, and NYCEMF, where he is an original member of the steering committee. He currently teaches music technology and theory at Moorpark College (CA).