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What I Have Noticed
Technology integration is a consistent theme in education, and teachers are being required to use technology at all levels. However, I have noticed many varying levels of technology “integration”. For administrative walkthroughs, I have heard of teachers keeping a metronome or tuner handy, and quickly pulling it out to get a check in the “use of technology” box. Some teachers email assignments, and consider that adequate use of technology, while others are struggling to find time to add anything new. While every small measure is important, music teachers do have a wealth of useful technology available that will enhance music education.
The music of today is created and distributed with technology. From recording, editing, mastering, producing, and delivery, there are software and hardware requirements throughout the process. Music educators can integrate these same processes into their classroom, and provide another level of relevant music instruction while enhancing the musical experience for students and parents. Here are a few ideas:
Have a weekly “recording day”, where students perform to the best of their ability and share a track with their families.
Record throughout the school year and create a yearly album for each class or ensemble.
Identify students to be classroom “producers”, who can run the recording process to allow you to teach. There are always tech-savvy kids ready and willing to do this for you!
Integrate a music technology course to attract more students into your program. Students without any prior musical training can thrive in these courses!
Method and Resources
We understand the many duties of today’s teachers and the difficulties in finding time to learn new technology. Music technology does not have to begin with a full course. Here is a suggested introductory sequence:
Introduce free software, such as Musescore and Studio One Free, and identify which students are the most interested in music technology.
Start recording in class, using a simple handheld recorder or a computer with an AudioBox interface and microphone.
Involve students in editing and exporting recorded songs and playback to the class regularly.
Use a projector in class while recording to software, such as Studio One, and engage the whole class in the process.
Introduce editing tools and effects, and allow students to create their own songs or “mash ups” to explore possibilities.
Begin to distribute class recordings using a the approved school/district file sharing tool, or free services such as Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive, SoundCloud, or Nimbit.com.
As more students become engaged, use their momentum to acquire upgraded software, such as Studio One Artist or higher, and Notion notation software. Hardware can be added over time, such as AudioBox interfaces, microphones, and MIDI keyboard controllers.
We Got Your Back!
As a teacher, you don’t have to become an expert to begin to provide students with music technology. Our kids are digital natives and they will most likely learn faster than us, which is fine! Start by introducing free resources, joining TI:ME to access numerous lessons plans, participating in webinars and summer courses, and you will be amazed and how quickly your program will thrive! Also, be sure to show your administration how well you are integrating technology in your classroom!
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at any time.