Using Music Technology In the Classroom

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

In this lesson we discuss how to utilize helpful music technology in the classroom setting. This includes using technology for singing, playing instruments, and musical performances.

Technology in the Classroom

Do you remember those fun days of singing nursery rhymes and other songs in elementary school? Today new music technology can be used for:

  • Electronic-style communication
  • Educational-type resources
  • In-class teaching devices

With electronic communication, teachers can use aids to participate in various online discussion groups, which provide more classroom flexibility and instruction time. In addition, students can contact other musicians and music teachers online.

With educational resources, teachers can find innovative new ideas for their lesson plans. Students can learn new concepts through the accessing of new resources and may be more apt to discuss fresh concepts as a result.

With in-class devices, teachers can not only offer varied instruction but also provide amazing visuals. Thanks to these devices, students might be encouraged to both create and share music with others that they would not have done previously.

Students around the world are now embracing technology and tablets as a means to incorporate music into their daily lives

Technology Tools

In the Internet Age technology tools exist that allow educators to bring music alive in their classrooms. These tools include:

  • Interactive table
  • Interactive whiteboard
  • Tablets and e-readers

Teachers may utilize these devices for many reasons. They can motivate students and increase their desire to learn new concepts. These devices can be used to expand on the current curricula and reinforce what has already been taught. They can also encourage students to think in new ways and be responsive to new teaching and learning styles.

Further, the educator can use technology to:

  • Create online lesson plans
  • Share web-based interactive games
  • Send pertinent information to both parents and students

Interactive Tables and Interactive Whiteboards

An interactive table has the amazing benefit of being set in either a horizontal or vertical position. Thus, it can be used as both a presentation device or a personal computer. Further, a touch screen allows several students at once to participate. It does not need to be held like a tablet, so it is ideal for many special needs students. Placing wheels on the table also makes it portable in the classroom.

A teacher in Florida utilizes an app that works with a projector and an interactive whiteboard. Thus, the students can see if they are playing too sharp or too flat. This is crucial because even many professional musicians struggle with pitch at times. Students can also receive feedback on timing and rhythm. This teacher also uses social media to communicate with both the students and their parents.

Apps and their Versatility

Music technology is now available to students at the touch of a button

One feature that many music educators like is the use of tablets instead of paper for sheet music. This reduces the chance of the students losing their music. Second, the students have instant access to apps. Third, music teachers can send music to their students, which they can play along with at their leisure. Fourth, students can design practice tracks using the apps, and fifth they can even use apps to create original music. Finally, both teachers and students can use apps to convert written music to digital music.

Examples of Apps

One popular app is Garage Band, which allows students to play various instruments. Ear Trainer does just what the name implies: it helps improve the ear of budding musicologists. A third example is ImproVox, which allows music students the opportunity to polish up their harmonizing and pitch skills.

Singing is a skill that many students want to improve upon, but many have issues including dreaded pitch problems. The Sing Harmonies app allows students to sing along to well-known favorites in vocal ranges from bass to soprano. The Acapella app allows students to harmonize with themselves, and even create videos with a layered effect.

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