Monthly Archives: March 2017

Ableton, Philosophies, and Reflections

With this Ableton project that we have been working on with middle schoolers (from a distance through online interactions) I have been having a lot of questions about the way that the class itself was run, how it came about, and what exactly was the point of this project.  This week we had the teacher come in and share some things about the way this project came about and what he has been doing with it.  He also discussed his personal philosophy of how he interacts with students that don’t want to participate.  This has gotten me thinking about what I would do if I were in his situation and also about what I have to start thinking about before I head into the field.  I realize that any opinions that I have on this subject are just the opinions of a student with limited teaching experience, and I have never been completely in charge of a classroom on my own, so I cannot judge him too harshly on things that we may disagree on because he actually has the experience.

His philosophy is that he doesn’t want to force them to do anything, it is up to them whether they fail or succeed.  When there are students on their phone or distracted he doesn’t punish them or take away their phones because that does not guarantee that they will actually get to work and that they will become engaged, in fact it may make them even less interested and angry towards the teacher and still not get their work done.  He also described how he lead into this class and this project.  This is a new class where he has the control over what is taught and what they can do with the technology that they have at they school.  These students have little to no music training and are in an area and grade level where they have no real motivation to do will in this elective class.  I will say that I am not sure exactly what I would do, but I think that I would try to be more strict than simply asking them to be responsible and get to work.

I realize that this project was not for everyone.  I was hesitant about it because it was something different and I wasn’t sure how well it would turn out.  For some, it went as expected, the kids did the work and had a good time with it, and learned a lot about music from doing a simple cover of a pop song.  For others, it was a struggle because the kids were simply not interested in it one way or the other and didn’t want to actually do any of the work, which put us in a difficult situation.  I did try to keep an open mind, but it is hard to have fun with this when there isn’t work being done on both ends.  I do think that this is something that might be fun, and even do something like video game compositions or something else that students might be interested in.  I don’t know what to expect going into the field, but things like this show me the possibilities and realities that are out there.   It also gets me thinking seriously about the way that I might want to run my own classrooms at some point.


Music Teachers and Te[a]ch[k]no[w]logy

In my search for music teachers that use technology, I found a few Ph. D.’s with websites and even articles that they have written on how they have used technology to teach music and also some ideas that they have on what you can do to make the most of the technology  you may have in your class.  There are also a lot of different ways to search for them.

Dr. William Bauer at the University of Florida wrote an article “Music Learning and Technology” that talks about the different sides of teaching music with technology.  His article is focused around TPACK, taking into consideration the outcomes, pedagogy, and context of using  any technology to enhance the learning of music in classrooms.

Peter Perry is a “Teacher, Trumpeter, Conductor, Author, & Music Technology Specialist” with his own website.  He has links on his website that cover many different topics and are helpful resources for free music programs that musicians and teachers can use.  He also has an article on using Google Classroom with large ensembles and his article on technology strategies with ensemble classrooms on NAfME.  He also has a couple of other articles on the site about teaching and technology.

Midnight Music by Katie Wardrobe is a website where she shows teachers how to simply integrate technology into their classrooms.  The Midnight Music Community is offered on the website as a form of tech professional development.  There is some payment required to have full access, but there are some free things that are available.

It is important to be aware of the resources that are available on the internet and how to find them.  The Midnight Music website is probably one of the most helpful ones that I have found because it offers a way of finding professional development opportunities.   When trying to find people to either work with, contact, or just get ideas from it is important to know what you’re looking for.  Just simply entering “music teachers and technology” sometimes isn’t enough because you’ll get all sorts of things that might not be helpful.  You could enter “music teachers and technology articles” or “music teachers and technology iPads” or “music teachers and technology professional development” or just anything to narrow the search.  Searching these things on a website like Feedly can also lead you to specific things or things you might not have thought about.  When you’re a teacher that is looking for ideas it is important to keep an open mind and keep your eyes open for things that might be helpful.  I found the 2 Ph. D’s through Googling “music teachers and technology articles” that led me to the NAfME website that has bios and links for teachers in just about anything that you need help with.