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FORUMS (Free and Open Resources for Undergraduate Music Study): About FORUMS

FORUMS is a collection of free and open online materials to support undergraduate general education music courses internationally.

About Forums

About the pilot version of FORUMS v1.1 (launched in August, 2015)

FORUMS is a growing collaborative online community of college music faculty, academic librarians, museum and archive curators, music performers, musicologists, music educators, scholarship of teaching and learning specialists, and others interested in furthering the teaching of music in general studies. FORUMS features evaluated collections of free and open online resources for teaching music to adult learners.

Purpose and mission

FORUMS’ purposes are: 

1. to provide an access point to collected, evaluated open access music sites for undergraduate students and faculty;

2. to develop community among those teaching undergraduate general education students; and

3. to support the teaching of music to adult learners, especially students in general studies college courses.

Site users include, but are not limited to:  students and teachers of music in general studies classes and adult learners of music worldwide.

Contributors include, but are not limited to: music educators, music performers, musicologists, ethnomusicologists, museum and archive curators and educators, music librarians, SoTL specialists, and others with expertise related to teaching music to adult learners.

About the name and the banner image

The acronym (FORUMS) represents an essential focus of this site—a collection of Free and Open Resources for Undergraduate Music Studies--for teachers and students, represented by the term "forum" defined as a market or a meeting place.

The banner image depicts sound waves traveling through different media--a metaphor for varied means of experiencing and studying musics. 


What FORUMS will and will not do

What FORUMS will and will not do:

FORUMS is dedicated to the legal sharing of free and open resources that support music teaching and learning. Others’ existing work will not be duplicated or appropriated. FORUMS users are expected to credit their sources. Contributors will be acknowledged. Contributors are expected to follow usage rights designations of material submitted.

FORUMS will:

Provide a means and a space to develop community for anyone interested in teaching music in general studies and teaching music to adult learners. Specifically, FORUMS will:

• provide a means to discuss and share ideas for teaching music

• provide a means to share informal and incomplete materials in development for others’ use or for comments and suggestions

• provide a means to share complete materials for others to use and adapt

• supplement materials used to teach music in general studies

• provide materials and ideas for teaching undergraduates, adult learners, and teaching music in general studies

• develop community through collaboration, bringing together music educators, music performers, music museum curators, musicologists, music librarians, and others.

FORUMS will not

• Link to, copy, duplicate, adapt copyrighted materials, or otherwise circumvent materials’ usage rights

• Copy or duplicate databases, lists or materials created by music librarians or museum curators for use only in their host institutions, however, open source lists compiled by librarians and museum curators may be linked.

• Catalog museum and library holdings

• Promote commercial interests

• Link to unauthorized YouTube videos. Videos listed as permitted under creative commons licensing or posted by or with the permission of the content creator/copyright owner (such as a channel created by a performance organization or the content creator) are allowed.  



FORUMS is an OER pilot project founded and curated by Jane Palmquist, associate professor of music at the Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College—CUNY.  The pilot version, FORUMS v.1.1, was created in cooperation with the Brooklyn College Library, launched in August, 2015, and published in CUNY's Academic Works repository. Nicholas Irons and Emily Fairey (Brooklyn College library) designed the overall site and provided technical support and instruction.  David Best and the Network Support Group (ITS, Brooklyn College) set up the Brooklyn College email account and url. Content was selected, organized, evaluated, categorized, and entered by Jane Palmquist. Special thanks to Jill Cirasella and Megan Wacha (CUNY graduate center library) and Steven Ovadia (La Guardia Community College library) for their helpful comments on an early version of this site. Also, special thanks to Michelle Millar Fisher and Karen Shelby, co-founders and Deans of the Art Teacher History Resource (ATHR) site for generously sharing their time, enthusiasm and advice for starting this site. 

The FORUMS v.1.1 prototype was part of an open education initiative overseen by Terrence Cheng, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, Brooklyn College; Miriam Deutch, Associate Director of the Brooklyn College Library; and Graciele Elizalde-Utnick, Director of the Roberta Matthews Center for Teaching at Brooklyn College. Special thanks to Karen L. Gould, President, Brooklyn College for support of these projects.


Rationale for FORUMS overall

Authentic music, artifacts and study materials are increasingly available online for music study worldwide, however the material may or may not be (a) accurate; (b) authentic; (c) authorized or legal to use; (d) stable (consistently available online).  Novice and experienced music learners alike can become overwhelmed when locating and evaluating materials for music new or unfamiliar to them. 

FORUMS provides a space to access and share authentic music performances and scholarship regardless of style, genre, culture, or geography. Materials are evaluated and contributed by experts as authorized and legal posts, accurate and authentic, and as generally stable links.  

Initial content of the pilot project (FORUMS v.1.1) is directed to music faculty and students of the City University of New York, specifically Brooklyn College where the project began. FORUMS intends to be useful for students and faculty outside of CUNY. To contribute information and materials specific to your course or to your college, please Contact us.

The materials-selection process for FORUMS v.1.1 (collecting scholarly and authentic resources through established institutions such as museums, academic libraries, and performance organizations) has resulted in a troubling lack of diversity--underrepresentation of women, musicians of color, and music traditions other than western classical music.  FORUMS actively seeks evaluated contributions by experts in musics worldwide, across genres, styles, time, and peoples. Please Contact us to contribute authoritative, authentic, authorized materials to help diversify FORUMS.

FORUMS is open worldwide for comments, contributions, and suggestions for development and revision.

Rationale for the Repository of Authentic and Scholarly Collections and the Media Collections Repository Sections

Undergraduate students rely on Wikipedia and YouTube content because they perceive the search results to be accessible, easy to understand and factual. They avoid scholarly material accessed through an academic library because they consider the access and search process too difficult, and the material too detailed (Palmquist, 2014, unpublished data). 

Yet an astoundingly immense and growing amount of excellent authentic music materials—video performances, interviews, photos, manuscripts, letters, other artifacts—is available online for free. FORUMS’ repositories acquaint students with authoritative materials appropriate for college level study and their studies as lifelong learners.

The Repository of Scholarly and Authentic Collections and the Media Collections Repository sections provide links to scholarly and performance collections. The sites are easy to access and navigate and are free and open. The material has been vetted by the experts of the libraries, museums, performance organizations—and is appropriate for adult learners (i.e. not educational sites for children). Notable individual links and sites are included in other locations of FORUMS.

Rationale for the FORUMS and community and Teaching Resources sections

Teachers of music in general studies include graduate students, contingent (adjunct) faculty, full-time faculty specializing in teaching music in general studies, and full-time faculty specializing in areas other than the teaching of music in general education. Music in general studies faculty and courses may be housed in or outside the music department—in Core, Interdisciplinary, or even the Folklore. The courses we teach also vary--from surveys of western European art music, popular music, rock music, or world music to music fundamentals, ipad ensembles, class piano and more. This variability can contribute to faculty isolation or fragmentation. However this need not be. Given this wondrous array of courses, musics, and faculty appointments, and the broad spectrum of students we teach, we have much to share and learn from each other. We all teach students music. We need not work in isolation or reinvent the wheel. 

The FORUMS and community section is intended to spur discussion and to develop ideas and techniques for teaching music, and to provide support and community to all music-in-general-studies faculty regardless of experience or discipline. Lesson kernels (incomplete lessons, ideas, promising materials), playlists, calls for research subjects or co-researchers are posted in the FORUMS and community section for discussion and development. The Teaching Resources section is intended to share more fully formed lesson plans or materials for adaptation and use by others. 







FORUMS is an evolving project intended to foster a participatory music learning community for those teaching music in general studies (i.e. core or general education). Please use the Contact Form to contribute and to participate.