I found out this morning that my session titled “Teaching Music Using Technology (And Not The Other Way Around)” was accepted as a presentation at the 2011 Illinois Music Educators Association Conference in Peoria, IL. It’s my first professional conference presentation, so I feel like it might stress me out. I suppose it’s just like prepping for a class period, though.
Also in IMEA news (for those who didn’t read the “About” section) back in June, I was elected by the state membership of IMEA to the Board of Directors. My current title is “Secondary General Music Vice-President Elect (Designate)” - okay, I added the “designate”. My ‘elect’ position doesn’t officially start until January.
If you’re interested in what I’ll be talking about in Peoria, here is a .pdf of my session description.
Briefly, the session will focus on the following:
- How does a teacher design lessons that uses technology but isn’t explicitly about technology?
In order to answer that question, I’ll examine two units I’ve done with my students:
- “Music as Identity” - A project I’ve already blogged about (one of the most popular posts on the site). Essentially, students create short “NPR-style” audio essays - layering their own narration with a selection of songs they have chosen that help illustrate their own musical identity.
- “Meet The Beatles” - A lengthy unit that I ran concurrently with other lessons in my music theory class. The class was asked to answer the question: “Why did Rolling Stone magazine name this the ‘Greatest Album of All-Time’?”. Students were involved in a wide variety of listening, analysis, and re-mixing in order to come to some conclusions. At the end, we were able to use the Beatles: Rock Band game to introduce vocal harmonies and provide the students an opportunity to experience the songs they have been working on in a different light.
Both of those projects utilize Audacity - a powerful, FREE audio program that you can give to every student. GarageBand is great, but how many kids own it? Teaching kids Audacity provides them with an immediate tool they can use to make music - removing the barriers that a Logic Pro or GarageBand bring with them.
To help give you a better flavor, here is the introduction from my session proposal:
With so much technology available to both the music teacher and music student, there is a danger that more time will be spent learning the technology of today rather than actually applying it to the study of music. This interactive session will focus on helping teachers find ways to design projects that effectively utilize programs like Audacity and Rock Band witout requiring the students to spend excessive time simply learning how to use the software. By deciding on musical concepts before deciding on the appropriate technology, teachers can ensure that students will learn more than a skill on the computer, but the lifelong musical concepts that all of our students should take with them when they leave our classroom. This clinic will demonstrate this idea by presenting two fully developed unit ideas for the music classroom.
The session will also include a bit about my philosophy on the future of music education. If you simply can’t wait (or can’t be there), these two posts are probably a good way to get a feel for my thoughts:
So, if you’re in Peoria, IL between January 26-29 and you’re reading this blog… you should stop by! I’m sure I’ll remind people as we get closer. Maybe I’ll bring cookies… you never know.