Thursday, June 6, 2013

Reflections on the First Year Offerings of Digital Music Class

Students in the School District of Waukesha made their first credited, formal endeavor into the world of creating digital music this year.  The course, offered at South and North High Schools, made iPads, Garage Band, and MIDI keyboards available to students, allowing them to engage in the art of composing music with digital tools.

Instructors at both schools have reported positive feedback from students, high levels of engagement, enrollment of students that do not traditionally take music classes, and some pretty outstanding final compositions that students have shared with the world in a variety of ways.

Aside from the prescribed curriculum, South Music Teacher Andy Hacker added other components to the course that focused on practical applications of the skills students learned in the class.

"The music tech class mixed and prepared live sound equipment in our auditorium as if it was a true recording studio for very practical application. They loved this facet of the class because we used live rock bands of their peers to practice before making this recording of my last concert of the year. This is one of twelve tracks they did in muli-layer recording. This was a great twist to the class that students asked for and I modified the curriculum to meet their needs."
Here is a live sound recording of Hacker's band, captured by students in the Digital Music Technology class.

North Music Teacher Lansing Dimon broke major ground as he launched into crafting a robust digital text using iBooks Author.  The resource allowed students to learn the core content and skills promoted within the class in a multimedia format that was impressive and engaging.

If you'd be interested in listening to some of the final student compositions from South students, they are available here:

Asked to reflect on the course this past semester, this is what South students had to say:

What do you like about Music Technology as a Class?

"We learn more than just the technology behind music. We learn the history of it, we learn some theory and forms."

"I really liked learning about the sound equipment and learning how it all works and how to put it together."

"What I like about music tech class is that I can express my music style and create music and share it."

"I think that Music Technology is a great start to a career in music. The skills it teaches you of the technology used would be quite hard to learn anywhere else. In all, it is a great class."

"It was a fun class. Kind of difficult for some projects as we used apps I was totally unfamiliar with"

How can you use the information you have learned about music and technology in other areas of your life?

"I will most likely use it every day or whenever I make music."

"If I ever joined a band I could use the information we learned about soundboards and setting up musical equipment."

"I can use it as when I play out live, I know how to set up live sound and the basics of a mixing board. And it's exciting to know more about music technology."

"This would be a great resource for someone who has to set up resource videos and make them hold interest. It could also be used for a podcast tool, and of course a music technician."

"I can use the information to create background music for projects or if i want to do something in music when i grow up the information will come in handy."

"If I ever have some kind of music project! I have a music mixing system in my laptop and make music mixes for cheer or for friends when they have performances."

What were the benefits to you of taking Music Technology?

"Learning a lot more about garage band and notes and forms of music. Another thing would be learning about some of the equipment like chords speakers and sound boards."

"I learn things I can't really learn on my own. It's exciting and refreshing. Also, to know how to work a sound board was beyond my expectations in this class."

"Learned more about acoustics and sound systems and more about the equipment that goes into setting up a sound system."

"To learn if it is really something I want to consider doing in my life."