Working with Ableton (Live and Push) has been an experience the last few weeks. I went from knowing just about nothing to having to do a cover of a pop song with a group of middle schoolers (as their helper). What has freaked me out about using this technology is all of the possibilities of what you can use it for and with. You don’t really even need to have formal music training to use it, and in a way it can kind of supplement for a music course because through the process of using it you have to figure certain things out. I think that is kind of the point with this project. I am working with a couple of middle schoolers with not music training, who kind of know what they are doing with Ableton, and I am a student that has some music training and is not completely familiar with the technology. In a way we can kind of balance each other out. Another benefit of this project is getting used to working with people from a distance that you can’t see.
I think that I might like to do something like this in my own classroom if I am given the freedom in a music class like this. There are a lot of possibilities with Ableton, and with having people to work with. I would probably stray from the sink-or-swim model that this current project is following (at least that is the way that it seems from my perspective) and have more of a structured approach to using this program. I would try to give my students more music training before handing them over to college students that may not know how to work with children from afar. While teaching them what to do with the technology I would try to make sure that they know what it is that they are actually doing, like how to tell what the time signature is (and what a time signature is) and how to listen for a different note (as in a bass line) and how to try and find the key for that so that they know more or less what notes they will need to complete the song.
I also think that communication about the project between students would be beneficial so that they can perhaps form their own groups (between the middle schoolers and college students) like have introduction videos and where their strengths are before randomly assigning them. I would also like to see more collaboration between people to see what songs they will want to do, so that no one gets stuck on something that they don’t like or that is too hard. One way to make this whole thing easier would be to maybe have larger groups and assign them to different parts because a larger group on the same song might allow them to collaborate more and get help where they need it, particularly from their peers that they are actually in class with. This would keep everybody interested, and if they get done early maybe they can split into smaller groups and try another song, and take on different responsibilities. This would enable them to move around and explore more of Ableton without getting frustrated over not understanding something or getting bored.
I am not sure how realistic some of my ideas are, because I don’t have experience teaching yet, and I am not sure all of the work that it would take and has taken to work on this collaborative project; but they are just some things that have come to mind as I am going though this and I would actually like to try out if I am given the chance.