4 Ways Technology Can Make Your Music Lessons Sing

08 April 2015

Integrating technology into the music classroom can be a real challenge. For one thing, students don't have desks, so any device with a keyboard presents a logistical problem. Nevertheless, the potential payoff is big. By introducing virtual instruments and digital composition, teachers are empowering students to innovate in ways that were unimaginable 10 or 20 years ago, and are making their classes more engaging and interactive.

Christopher Russell, director of choirs at Oltman Middle School in St. Paul Park, MN (USA) tells about the introduction of a 1-to-1 iPad program in the fall of 2013, which was a step ahead of most teachers in other disciplines. He had already been using iPads in class for three years on a limited basis. 'I already had the pedagogy figured out and I knew which apps I was going to use,' he said.

Using Tablets Instead of Paper Music

Russell said he believes that the number one use for a tablet is as a substitute for paper music. Having the music in digital format has many benefits, including the fact that students no longer lose their music. 'Talk to any music or band teacher, and they will tell you that is a huge issue," he said. With the music in digital format, students can access apps to annotate their scores. Russell can send students audio recordings that they can play along with as they practice. His students can use a music-writing app such as Notion to make their own practice tracks and compose their own songs. 'That is a complete redefinition of what you do with students,' he said. 'It was inconceivable before they had these devices.'

Russell said he is also excited about a relatively new app called NotateMe, which allows him to write musical notation and convert it to digital notation. The app also allows you to take a picture of a score and convert it to digital music. This means that music teachers can now scan music without expensive software and scanning equipment, he said. 'I have used the app with students to compose music and also to dictate what they hear,' he explained. 'The free version allows a student to scan a single line. That might allow band and orchestra students, who get music with one part, to scan their music and edit it, either to hear what it should sound like, or perhaps to create their own music based on their own part.'

Read the full story on the website of THE-journal.

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