Technology in the Music ClassroomPresentation Transcript
Technology in the Music Classroom: Helpful for the Students, or Simply Getting in the Way? Kyle Barker Click Below to Begin!
Contents: Click Where You Want to Go
Summaries and Reflections of Articles
3-5: “Making the Tech Connection”
6-8: “Will Technology Transform Music Education?”
9-11: “Viewports of Technology and Teacher Training”
“ Making the Tech Connection” (1)
“ Is it worth the time and effort?” The question is one of the first questions asked in this article, written by Catherine Olsen in the popular Music Education Journal, Teaching Music . Ms. Olsen claims that, yes, it is very worth it to “forge a new connection with students through technology.”
Olsen states that technology assists a music classroom in three areas:
Encouraging collaborative learning : Students can work on projects together using creation programs like Apple’s Garage Band, Sibelius’ Groovy Music series, and more. This also encourages students to learn from each other, not just from a teacher.
Augmenting interdisciplinary learning : Students can use music technology to enhance learning in other subject areas. For example, a music teacher had her 3 rd grade students use Finale Notepad (a popular notation software) to write songs for each state using facts they had gathered from their social studies class.
Attracting the attention of non-traditional students : One expert states that middle school and high school bands, orchestras, and choirs only reach about !5% of the school population. Music technology courses (recording, composing with software, etc.) offer ways to allow the other 85% of students to get involved in music.
“ Making the Tech Connection” (2)
In addition, the author provides three examples of lessons to use in a classroom that do not involve keyboards and expensive software:
Bring in a professional using Skype : Skype, a free online calling program, can expose students to composers, performers, and other professionals from all over the world without leaving the classroom.
Use YouTube, Schooltube, and Edutube to preview music and performances : Using these sites allows students to listen to and learn from other pieces of music in order to better prepare for performance, to learn theory, etc.
Graphically research music history : Search the Internet for biographical information on composers, timelines relating to music history, videos of videos representing the composers/time periods studied, and more
Finally, Olsen makes clear that technology “is a means, not an end.” Many teachers make using technology the point of a lesson. Rather, technology should be a tool used to help enhance musical learning.
“ Making the Tech Connection”: Reflection
I agree with Ms. Olsen on this article. She makes a lot of interesting points relating to technology in the music classroom. I especially liked the three areas she outlined (shown on slide 3). I observed a classroom this year that was a music technology class. Seeing students work with and learn from each other was a way of learning rarely witnessed in a traditional music classroom. Furthermore, music technology allows for students who are not talented in singing or playing an instrument to express their interest in a different way.
The three cost-effective technology uses are very useful. My favorite example was using Skype to get in touch with a professional. My International Vocal Ensemble uses Skype to learn from cultural experts on the multicultural music we perform to make a more authentic performance and learning experience for us, the students. The same can be applied to a non-college music classroom.
Finally, I am happy to see that the author stated that technology should be a tool, not the goal of the lesson. I am very cautious about using technology too much, to the point where it hinders the learning process.
“ Will Technology Transform Music Education?” (1)
David Beckstead, a high school coordinator for a school in Madagascar, examines the relationship between technology and music composition in this article. The first section deals with its history; initially, composition was limited to private lessons for the gifted. However, the development of electronics and music like rock, jazz, and the blues has been said to “challenge the notion of the separation of composer and performer.” In essence, technology now allows the performers to compose their own music.
Now, the notion of composition in music education is being redefined by two things: thought and the technology itself.
Thought : many experts are calling for more of an emphasis in composition in schools .
Technology : the new technology available, including recorders, MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) and synthesizers, now makes it easier to emphasize music composition in the curriculum.
“ Will Technology Transform Music Education?” (2)
Another theme of Beckstead’s article is how this music technology can transform composition and performance. Synthesizers and MIDI devices are equipped with many different sounds and effects that sometimes cannot be achieved by regular instruments. This expands the realm of exploration for students in composing music, using all these new effects in addition to the sounds from traditional instruments.
One concern many have with this technology is that it can take the place of human performers (bands, orchestras, etc.) which could result in less students playing traditional instruments. Beckstead states that this technology can be used as a means of practicing, when a full orchestra is unavailable. The final performance would feature the full band/orchestra. The new sounds and effects can also be used to enhance performances. He closes the article by asking teachers to not just use this technology for efficiency; rather, use it to enhance learning through composition.
“ Will Technology Transform Music Education?” Reflection
Beckstead makes a couple of interesting points in his article. His enthusiasm for the use of MIDI devices, synthesizers, and other electronics is something I think is needed in the music education world today. We do not put enough emphasis on composition; rather, we think of performance over everything else. However, music composition has many educational benefits that aid in student learning and performance.
While his pushing for more composition in schools in refreshing, I take issue with some of his claims regarding the use of MIDI devices and synthesizers. This article was written in 2001, when these technologies were first becoming popular. He argued that they would not replace traditional instruments in performance. However, this is not all true. I saw a musical at my old high school this past spring. This year, they decided to use synthesizers to create an orchestra, rather than having students play in the orchestra pit. To me, this use of technology goes against part of what we value in a music education. I support the use of this technology, but not when it hinders other aspects of student learning.
“ Viewports to Technology and Teacher Training” (1)
This article was written by David B. Williams, a professor at the Music School of Illinois State University. In this article, he examines five different “viewports” that illustrate the various benefits to using technology in a music program for the music educator:
Performing and Composing : Here, the author explains how the MIDI interface on digital keyboards can greatly alter the teaching of piano and keyboard. With MIDI, students can automatically transpose music, play music into notation software, and record as well.
Basic Musicianship : Here, Williams explains the benefits to teachers of software that features exercises to teach rhythm, ear training, reading music, and other basic musicianship skills.
A World View of Music : In this section, the author outlines the ways we can teach multicultural music to students. He talks about software with different “ethnic” sounds, as well as ways to send scores, texts and translations, etc. over the web with our communications technologies. He even predicts that, in the future, computers will be able to automatically transcribe texts from different languages, as well as recognizing different notation systems.
Music Research : Next, Dr. Williams explains that searching for online resources has been accessible since the 1970s; however, what has changed is the ease of searching, methods of delivery of information, etc. With databases like ERIC and others, we are better able to search for accurate and relevant information applicable to music education.
Music Administration : Finally, Dr. Williams makes the point that technology helps the music teacher immensely in his day-to-day activities. For example, teachers can catalog their music library on the computer to make things more organized. In short, simple technologies can make the regular administrative activities of the music teacher more organized.
“ Viewports to Technology and Teacher Training” (2)
However, Dr. Williams explains that there are some gaps in music technology and the curricula for music education students in college:
Software Quality: Much of the software for music classrooms is not sophisticated enough to enhance musicianship.
Technology Training and Expertise: Here, the author claims that there is a lack of teachers in music education who are “tech-savy”. The other problem is, the professors in colleges teaching future music educators do not teach this technology use in the classroom.
Crowded Music Education Curriculum: Dr. Williams explains that the Music Education curriculum is so packed with requirements that there simply is no room for electives, particularly learning to use technology in a classroom.
Lack of Technology Resources: Most music departments at universities have trouble allocating funds for technology to the Music Ed. department. Most of the technology funds go to recording equipment for concerts, piano tune-ups, etc.
Lack of Research and Development Support: Quite simply put, there is little funding for software research for Music Education departments. This results in poor quality software that may have the potential to be beneficial, but lack of funding results in a bad quality.
Lack of National Focus on Music Education Technology: Most people in the music education world do not appear interested in technology as applicable to the field. Sessions in music technology have been offered, but the interest seems to be in other topics of music education.
The author closes the article by calling all music educators to take the initiative and work to alleviate these gaps between technology and music education.
“ Viewports to Technology and Teacher Training”: Reflection
I think that, in many ways, Dr. Williams is exactly right. We should be putting more emphasis on technology. Look at how our culture has advanced in just the last 10-15 years. Technology has been a large part of that. We would be wise to take this into consideration when thinking about technology in our music education classes.
However, I do have a couple problems with his “viewports”:
Performing and Composing and Basic Musicianship: Some of the technology provided doesn’t leave room for educational growth. For example, yes, a MIDI keyboard can transpose. But shouldn’t we still expect our students to be able to do it on their own? Also, programs that teach basic musicianship are hardly good enough on their own. We should keep in mind that they should merely be supplements to our overall goals.
A World View of Music: This is good to strive for, but there are problems with technology and this subject. Most sounds that are “ethnic” really aren’t accurate. They are simply poor imitations of a sound that falls in the generic “world music” category. What is “world music?” There are too many cultures to be combined in that category. Wouldn’t it be more accurate and enriching to enlist the help of cultural expert to help you find the sound you need rather than relying on a program to give the “ethnic sound” you are looking for?
In addition, I think his concerns about music education departments are very valid. More should be done to help us as future music teachers learn about the new technologies that are available to us and how they can enhance learning in our classrooms. There is potential here, but there are many things we need to consider first, as outline above and explained in Williams’ elaboration on the roadblocks to teaching technology to the Music Education majors.
After this research, I have come to the conclusion that there are both positive and negative aspects to using technology in a music classroom:
There is a variety of technology available to teachers that teach basic musicianship, composition, aid in performance and rehearsals, and more. Many of these tools are fairly accessible and inexpensive and can greatly add to a music program.
Although there is a lot of technology available with many features, they can sometimes inhibit the potential a student has to grow in musicianship. Furthermore, some of these technologies can be used to excess or are not entirely accurate in their features, resulting in a block or setback in musical growth.
My research has also given rise to some questions I have:
How much technology is too much in a given lesson/curriculum?
How do I use electronic musical instruments without taking away the beauty of traditional instruments?
How will I know which technologies will benefit my students, and which ones will hold them back?
Only time and classroom experimentation can answer these questions.
Beckstead, D. (2001). Will Technology transform music education?. Music Educators Journal, 87(44), Retrieved from http://mej.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/87/6/44 doi: 10.2307/3399692
Olsen, C.A. (2010). Making the tech connection. Teaching Music, 17(5), Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.indiana.edu/ehost/detail?vid=6&hid=110&sid=2bd090b7-1422-4c32-aeef-e74b422531c2%40sessionmgr111&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=48805412
Williams, D.B. (1992). Viewports to technology and teacher training. Music
Educators Journal, 79(26), Retrieved from http://mej.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/79/2/26 doi: 10.2307/3398502