Connecting Music and Technology in the Classroom

Music Technology Lesson Plans

Music technology lesson plans help you incorporate digital tools in your classroom. It’s important to remember that these lessons should always focus on teaching music, not the technology itself.

This article includes some of our favorite music tech tips, articles and lessons to use in your classroom. We hope you find them helpful!

1) Theme-Based Lessons

Whether students are learning about music, history or science, theme-based lessons help them connect academic subjects to their real world. This allows them to better understand and retain what they learn.

For example, in one lesson, students listen to a song and discuss its theme. They individually identify the underlying lesson and topic and then write their thoughts on the whiteboard or chart paper for class discussion.

Another lesson involves having students compose a musical soundtrack for a short film. This activity is especially effective for teaching music students about composing in layers and arranging.

Another great use of edtech is for music teachers to incorporate collaborative songwriting into their classrooms. Using apps such as WURRLY and OceanWaves gives students the opportunity to create and share their jams with peers. Moreover, this is an excellent way to introduce and practice digital audio workstations (DAW) which are programs that can edit or create music tracks. Free DAW’s like GarageBand and Audacity are also a great resource for music teachers.

2) Collaborative Songwriting

Collaborative songwriting offers new paths for creativity and democratizes the power of storytelling. It can also reduce the distance between current and past experiences, hopes, dreams, fears and goals.

For this collaborative songwriting week participants had to write a song to a brief which could be pitched to an act in the music industry. This required them to find common ground, despite their individual styles, preferred genres and writing methods.

Songwriting and production tasks are often merged in the recording studio. This makes it hard to isolate and subtract the effects of one activity from another. For example, the ‘production’ task of quantising a drum part can inspire later’songwriting’ decisions on how that part is to be used in a song.

Similarly, the verbal behaviours of a co-writer in approving or rejecting creative ideas may impact on future’songwriting’ decisions. This is especially the case when a songwriter is ‘editing’ lyrical scansion. In that instance, a new idea for an edit may be suggested.

3) Digital Audio Workstations (DAW)

DAWs are a central hub for the music production process and allow you to bring your creative ideas to life in tandem with the technical side. You can record and build up beats, add instruments or vocal parts, lay out your arrangement, add effects, mix your song, and master your finished work all within one interconnected hub.

DAW technology has made the production of music more accessible than ever. What once required a brass section in New Orleans, a vocalist in Nashville, and percussion in Pretoria, can now be recorded in your home studio and brought together by an audio engineer.

It is important to find a DAW that works for your workflow and musical style. It’s also helpful to consider the DAW’s track record for providing updates and customer support. Lastly, you will want to ensure your computer meets the minimum requirements for running the program. This includes enough RAM, processing speed, disk space and a monitor big enough to view the different arrangement views.

4) Audio Recording

Sound recording is one of the main activities involved in music production. Recording sound involves capturing musicians’ performances so they can be reworked into finished projects for the public to enjoy. Sound waves are captured on a medium like magnetic tape or digital equipment (hard drives) and stored as an electrical representation.

Digital recordings were a major turning point in music technology. When the first all-digitally recorded music album, Ry Cooder’s Bop ‘Til You Drop, was released in 1979, it caused a paradigm shift from analog to digital recording and reproduction in every level of audio production: from professional recording studios to home hi-fi systems.

This paradigm shift also extended to data sonification, mapping information to sonic parameters that articulate features in the data. Students in the music technology domain learn about this important process and also gain skills in data creation, mapping, and audio production techniques that are necessary to vivify our massive amount of data.

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The Benefits of a Career in Music Production

Why Music Production is a Good Career

Music producers wear many hats. They can work the soundboard and help place microphones, or they may even perform as musicians themselves.

They choose the studio, record the musicians, mix and master the final product, and oversee other aspects of the process. The most successful Producers usually have a day job to support themselves while they pursue their passion.

1. You get to be creative

As a producer, you are the creative engine behind the whole recording process. You’ll likely be responsible for a number of smaller tasks like editing, fixing mistakes, and tweaking sounds as well as the bigger ones like determining the structure of the song, writing lyrics, and arranging the songs elements.

Creative freedom can be a double-edged sword though, and it’s easy to get stuck in the rut of making music the same way all the time. To be successful, you’ll need to break out of your comfort zone and find new ways to inspire yourself.

One great way to do that is to experiment with different workflows. Producing in the morning instead of at night, for example. It’ll also help to try out different genres that you don’t normally work in. All of these changes will create new pathways in your brain and help to churn up more musical inspiration. Practicing regularly is key too, so block out production time in your calendar and stick with it.

2. You get to work with great people

Music producers work closely with musicians and singers to bring musical ideas to life. These ideas may be as simple as a drum and bass pattern, or as complex as a full song with lyrics and chord progressions. Producers need to be able to collaborate with their artists and understand their artistic vision, while also offering constructive criticism and feedback.

Music production requires a lot of time and dedication, as well as an understanding of how to use the software and equipment required. Many producers have a day job to support themselves while they develop their skills and build up a client list.

While some Music Producers go to college for a music degree, most producers learn their craft through self-education. This could include enrolling in a music course that teaches them to perform, compose and score, or a more technical course that focuses on audio engineering. Additionally, attending gigs and networking with other musicians can help Music Producers learn more about the industry, meet new artists and make connections that could lead to future collaborations.

3. You get to make a difference

Music producers are often the ones who help musicians translate their demos into finished songs. In some cases, the producer will also be involved in creating their own music. The role of the producer varies from genre to genre and is similar to the role of a director for a movie.

Developing the skills to be a successful Music Producer takes time and practice. Learning to play an instrument, understanding music theory and Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software is essential. Many of the most well-known Music Producers never attended a traditional four-year college and taught themselves.

Music production can be very rewarding but it is a hard field to break into and even harder to make a living at. It requires long hours for little money, and it’s important to develop healthy habits to prevent burnout. However, if you can commit to the work and stay motivated, then this is one of the best careers in the music industry.

4. You get to make money

All the music we know and love today exists because it went through the production process. But it’s not like a plumber shows up and gets paid right away – it could be months before you see any kind of financial reward from your work as a producer.

Having a good network of other musicians and producers, as well as staying up to date with technology and industry trends, are essential for making money as a producer. Networking by attending music events, workshops, and conferences as well as participating in online forums can help you build relationships that lead to work.

Other ways to make money as a producer include selling beats, creating sample packs, offering courses and collaborating with other artists. However, to be successful, you must dedicate time to practice and master your craft. This means working on developing habits that will compel you to spend time improving your skills, no matter what the circumstances.

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