iPads for Music Making and Music Teaching
- Matthew Wilson, Visiting Lecturer of Music Technology, SUNY Fredonia
The overall purpose for this proposal, “iPads for Music Making and Teaching,” is to provide the opportunity for undergraduate music education majors to develop their abilities to effectively use technology to scaffold and encourage the music creativity and expression of all learners (regardless of age or ability). The partnerships and collaborations described in this proposal engage the power of SUNY, specifically the “Big Idea” of “SUNY and the Vibrant Community.” With the help of this grant, the students will have opportunities to partner with schools and associations within the community, and to develop as teachers and leaders through their interactions with learners of all ages and abilities in communal music creating and performing. The technology requested in this grant will help us meet the standards for teacher preparation set forth by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Through the three projects described in this proposal, our students will have the opportunity to contribute to the local community, enhance opportunities for music expression and collaboration in the community, and develop the skills required to interact and teach in a digital society.
The first two projects target undergraduate music education majors participating in an elementary general music methods course and a secondary general music methods course. All music education majors (average 300 students) at our university are required to successful complete either or both courses before graduating. In these courses, the undergraduates learn how to teach young children (preschool to sixth grade) or adolescents and young adults (sixth grade to high school) to understand music, and learn how to facilitate expression through music creating and performing. Undergraduates enrolled in the elementary general music methods class will partner with a local afterschool program to practice teaching young children and provide the students with musical opportunities. Those enrolled in the secondary general music method class partner with local schools to practice teaching middle or high school students enrolled in general music classes. Typically, the students in middle and high school general music courses do not have an interest in participating in traditional band, orchestra, and choral ensembles. For this reason, the university students face a unique challenge to their teaching skills. For elementary and secondary students, technology is one way of introducing unfamiliar music and traditions of other cultures, and encouraging them to create and compose without the need for traditional music notation and highly developed skills on traditional instruments.
During a series of weekly lessons, undergraduates in both courses will teach the students at the partner schools/program how to use iPads as musical instruments to perform and create music. Undergraduates will also be creating assessments to inform their teaching decisions, and to provide feedback to the students. The undergraduates and their students will use the iPads to perform and create music during the lessons. The undergraduates will also use the iPads to video record 5-10 minute reflections (similar to a video blog) after each of their teaching experiences. After the final teaching experience, the undergraduates will audio record interviews with their students about their iPad music experiences. All recording consents and permissions will be collected in accordance with the university’s IRB procedures. Because these are semester-long courses, I will make minor modifications and adjustments based on the data collected during the Fall semester, and repeat the project with the Spring semester students.
The third project is a service learning project that targets undergraduates participating in the collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Educators and the collegiate chapter of the Music Therapy Association at our university. Music educators are responsible for education all people, regardless of ability or age (National Association for Music Educators , 2000). Because state and national certification typically focuses on teachers’ abilities to engage students from preschool to 12th grade, undergraduate music education majors rarely have the opportunity to be teachers of adults. In partnership with the collegiate Music Therapy Association at the university, and with a local retirement community or rehabilitation facility, the undergraduates (music education majors and music therapy majors) would use the iPads as tools when engaging adults in expression through music performance and creativity. Because of the interface provided by the iPads, even adults at the center who have physical or cognitive challenges could experience success performing and creating (Kagohara, van der Meer, Ramdoss, O’Reilly, Lancioni, Davis, Rispoli, Lang, Marschik, Sutherland, Green, & Sigafoos, 2013).
During the Fall semester, undergradautes from both associations would meet weekly (as an iPad ensemble) to explore using the iPads to perform and create music, and rehearse and create as an ensemble in preparation for the Spring semester partnership. In December, students in the iPad ensemble will present a performance/workshop (open to the public) where they would demonstrate using the iPad as a musical instrument. In the Spring, across eight weekly “music making sessions,” the students would travel to a local retirement or rehabilitation center and collaborate with the adults at the center to create and perform using the iPads. During the final session, small intergenerational groups would perform music using the iPads. The participating undergraduates will maintain written journals about their experiences, and will reflect on their perceptions of the technology and its effectiveness as a tool for music expression as used with the adults at the center. In April, participating music education and music therapy majors will present a workshop session at the Collegiate New York State School Music Educators Association Conference at SUNY Fredonia. They will share details of their interactions and reflections on their experiences teaching in the center.
The students have the opportunity to practice teaching skills in innovative and varied instructional formats, collaborate within supportive communities of practice across disciplines and among institutions, and develop as responsible leaders in their field. Though we (the creators and facilitators of the projects) will learn more about pedagogical practices and explore new avenues to deliver collaborative content within the institution and within the community during these projects, the students are also exploring new avenues for teaching and learning, and becoming the leaders in their field and community.
With the experiences we have and the data we collect, we will be able to evaluate the direction for future use of the iPad technology; determine which aspects of the program to continue, which to change, and which to expand; and suggest possibilities for future research on pedagogical process and teacher preparation, and for future practice in music education and service learning contexts.
International Society for Technology in Education (n.d.) NETS teacher standards. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/nets-t-standards.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Kagohara, D. M., van der Meer, L., Ramdoss, S., O’Reilly, M. F., Lancioni, G. E., Davis, T. N.,
Rispoli, M., Lang, R., Marschik, P. B., Sutherland, D., Green, V. A., & Sigafoos, J. (2013). Using iPods and iPads in teaching programs for individuals with developmental disabilities: A systematic review. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 34, 147-156.
National Association for Music Education (2000). Vision 2020: The Housewright Symposium on
the future of music education. Reston, VA: National Association for Music Education.