7 Easy Ways To Use Technology In Your Music Classes

7 Easy Ways To Use Technology In Your Music Classes

7 Easy Ways To Use Technology In Your Music Classes

Where do I start?

That’s one of the most common questions I hear  – where do I start with technology in the music classroom? And what the options are for incorporating technology in a meaningful way?

You may feel overwhelmed with the number of choices you have – which devices to purchase or which apps to explore – or you may feel like you have some holes in your tech knowledge.  You may have even returned to teaching after a period of time away and feel like everything has changed!

 

What should you do?

  • Pick ONE thing
  • Do it until you are a ninja
  • Repeat

 

The most important thing…

Have a contingency plan.

No matter what you do with technology, always have a contingency plan.  Plan for things to go wrong and work out what you would do in a “worst case scenario”.  Once you’ve done that, you can survive anything! It’s not a bad philosophy for general life too.

 

7 easy ways to use tech in your music classes

Below are 7 easy ways you can incorporate technology into your music classes.  Choose just one to start with!

1. Utilize video

Why video?

With advancements in technology in recent years, video recordings are simple to create.

Video is an effective feedback and capture tool and it’s likely that you already have the gear you need to create your own.

How can you use video?

  • Record student performances
  • Students “show what they know”
  • Create tutorial videos
  • Provide feedback & assessment
  • “Magnify” something (ie. an instrument)

Gear

You can use your Smartphone or iPad to record videos, or a “proper” camera (like a DSLR).  

Optional extras include a tripod & mount to help keep the camera steady (it’s a HUGE improvement on video quality) and external mic to capture audio at a higher quality.

 

2. Create quizzes

Why use tech-based quizzes?

The are:

  • media-rich
  • reusable
  • the marking is done for you (bonus!)
  • you can share them with others
  • they are fun and engaging

Plus – someone might have made one already that suits your needs.

 

Online quiz tools

There are a number of great online tools that allow you to create your own quizzes.  Some of my favourites include:

  • Kahoot
  • Quizziz
  • Plickers
  • Playposit (create video quizzes)

 

Related listening: 4 Fun Formative Assessment Tools for Music Educators

Related reading:  4 Engaging Ways To Tech-i-fy Assessment In Music Education

Ways to use quizzes

You can use online quiz tools for:

  1. Testing or reinforcing music theory knowledge
  2. Testing or reinforcing music styles and history knowledge
  3. Testing tech skills and knowledge (GarageBand skills, notation software shortcuts etc)
  4. Student response to listening activities
  5. Creating exit tickets
  6. Enhancing a video by adding timed questions that pop up during the video itself

 

Related: Formative Assessment professional development training (with PD certificate) inside the Midnight Music community

 

3. Rhythmic patterns

Create rhythmic patterns

You can use a simple online drum sequencer or one of the many free creative music websites to create fast, fun and flexible patterns that can be used in a number of ways in the classroom:

  • To teach drum kit basics
  • To create a quick rhythmic backing for a rap lesson (such as this Rap My Name lesson)
  • Use as a funky metronome
  • To learn about different musical styles
  • To explore beatboxing
  • To export and use in other software

 

Related reading: How to make a funky beat in 30 seconds

Related reading: Rap My Name [Free Lesson Plan]

 

Resources

Some favourite options for creating rhythmic patterns include:

  • Groove Pizza
  • Incredibox
  • Isle of Tune
  • GarageBand app on iPad

 

4. Composing & recording

Digital audio workstations & other recording software

There are LOTS of creative and useful things you can do with recording software in your music classes.  There are also many software options in this category. The following list mentions just a few of the options:

  • Soundtrap
  • GarageBand
  • BandLab
  • Logic
  • Pro Tools
  • Notion
  • Ableton Live
  • Audacity (no MIDI)

 

Ideas for using DAWS in your classes

Some ideas include:

  • record audio
  • compose and record original music
  • create backing tracks
  • create cover versions of songs
  • compose film & video game scores
  • create podcasts or radio shows
  • digital storytelling

 

Related: Film Scoring online course (with PD certificate) inside the Midnight Music community

Related: Composing video game music lesson plans (training with PD certificate) inside the Midnight Music community

 

5. Chords & songwriting

Songwriting and analysis

One great online resource that has popped up in the past few years is the HookTheory website.  It’s a super-useful tool for students and teachers which includes:

  • educational information about songwriting techniques
  • harmonic analysis of songs
  • information about common chord progressions
  • interactive, playable, graphic-style notation
  • graphic-style notation that syncs with Youtube videos

 

You could use HookTheory with students for:

  • songwriting lessons
  • examining the harmonic structure of songs
  • composing original songs
  • creating cover versions
  • play-alongs

 

6. Composing with notation

Notation software options

These days we are spoilt for choice when it comes to notation software. Some of the options include:

  • Online & iPads: Noteflight, Flat.io
  • Download: Sibelius, Finale, Dorico, Notion
  • Handwriting: NotateMe

 

How can you use notation software with students?

There are lots of ways you can use notation software.  A few ideas:

  • Compose simple melodies
  • Compose simple rhythms
  • 12 bar blues
  • Create warm-ups & drills
  • Arrangements
  • Worksheets/examples

 

Tip: templates rock!

  • Create a basic score “shell” for students which includes measures, instruments, tempo, form
  • Provide students with a notation score that includes a pre-written accompaniment. They can then add their own melody
  • Create Melody
  • Rhythm

 

7. Create a “Singing Wall” display

How to create a “singing” wall

Add audio or video to your wall displays with QR Codes.  Display a picture, piece of writing or notation and add a QR code that links to an audio or video file of the student singing, playing or speaking.

 

Basic steps:

  • Create the visual element – something to display on the wall
  • Record the students singing, playing or speaking (audio only or video)
  • Upload audio or video file to an online location (such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Youtube, Soundcloud)
  • Copy the link to the audio or video file
  • Go to QR Stuff and paste the link into the box
  • Download the QR code, print it out and add it to the display

 

Students, parents and other teachers can scan the QR code use a free QR code reader app on their smartphone or iPad.

 

Resources:

 

Visual display options could include:

  • Photographs
  • Student drawings
  • Soundwave art
  • Notation/sheet music
  • Artwork

 

Related listening: How to Create A Visual Display That Includes Audio and Video Files Part 1 and Part 2

Download a copy of this resource

Would you like to take a copy of this with you? Click on the download button below and we’ll send a copy straight to your email inbox.  You’ll also receive weekly music tech tips and news (if you don’t already).  You can unsubscribe at any time.

 

Want free training (PD certificate provided)?

 

Would you like to see me walk you through all of the 7 Easy Ways To Use Tech? Join me for a free 60-minute online training session.  PD certificate of attendance is provided.

Click here to register


About me

Hello! I’m Katie Wardrobe – an Australian music technology trainer and consultant with a passion for helping music teachers through my business Midnight Music.  I hope you enjoyed this article and wish you well on your tech journey.

 

About the Author:

I love to simplify technology for music teachers. I help teachers from all around the world through the Midnight Music Community - an online professional development community where teachers can take online courses, ask questions and receive personalised help for the music tech goals.

Leave A Comment