In public schools, arts programs seem to be disappearing. This is certainly the case with music education.
Dedicated teachers continue to try to give students a meaningful introduction to the arts. This may include singing, playing an instrument or even composing. However, it is becoming increasingly common for parents to have to seek solutions outside of the traditional classroom when they want to ensure that their kids are receiving a thorough music education, along with all of the benefits that this kind of learning entails.
Kids who are fascinated by music are looking for their own ways to expand their music education. Whether the learning happens in a traditional classroom, during formal music instruction outside of school, in a homeschool or as an independent project that interested kids take on themselves, technology is increasingly forming a part of the education.
For instance, kids may tap into online resources at:
- The Berklee College of Music
- The futurelearn.com website
- The musictheory.net website
There are so many options available online, and because these are so attractive to students, an increasing number of teachers are choosing to bring technology into the music classroom. This also is true for homeschool teachers who are excited about the prospect of increasing their children’s exposure to music education.
Technology in the Music Classroom
Teachers are finding all sorts of inventive ways to include technology in their music curriculum. As an example, an elementary school teacher in Georgia is having his students use iPads for mixing, arranging and recording their own songs. This is possible through the Apple GarageBand app, which enables kids to actually create original compositions.
In another example, the distinguished Berklee College of Music in Boston offers an incredible array of virtual courses. These include not only instructional videos that are available for free on YouTube but also massive open online courses, or MOOCs, that are perfect for beginners. Of course, those who are dedicated to a career in music have the option of enrolling in Berklee’s bachelor degree and master degree programs, many of which involve online components.
Private Music Lessons
Families that have the means always have the option of enrolling their children in formal music instruction, which may be conducted in a small group or in one-on-one instruction with the teacher. This can be the best way to ensure a child’s proficiency with things like reading music and playing an instrument.
However, what happens if you live in a remote area? Must your child forego formal music instruction because there are no piano teachers in the local region?
Not at all! Music educators are increasingly offering classes via Zoom and other virtual meeting platforms to make it possible for more kids than ever to participate in lessons. Accordingly, as long as the family has a strong Internet connection, a reliable computer, a camera and a microphone, it is possible to enjoy music lessons from anywhere in the world.
Do Technology and Music Mix?
Traditionally, there has been some reluctance among music educators to rely too much on technology in the classroom. Teachers may resist technology because:
- They fear that it will become a crutch for students
- They worry that students won’t get a proper grasp of the fundamentals
- There is concern that not all technology is created equal
- There also is concern that technology takes the human element out of making music
While it certainly is true that some music-learning apps and websites are far better than others, this does not mean that music instructors need to shun technology. Instead, it simply makes it critical that instructors carefully review each app, website or other technology before recommending it to students.
Admittedly, it can take some time to go through a huge variety of apps and websites, so it may be a good idea to look for some shortcuts where you can. Talk with other music instructors to see what has been working for them. If one of your students suggests an app or website that they have been using, check it out. If it’s not a high-quality option, then look for a competing offering that provides better instruction.
Whatever technology you do recommend to your students or incorporate into lessons, make certain that you continue to offer one-on-one, personalized instruction just as you always have to ensure that your students aren’t picking up bad habits.
Technology in the Music Classroom Is Nothing New
Remember, music lessons have nearly always involved technology because every musical instrument is actually a tool. Technology also traditionally plays a role in music because of the venues in which music is performed. Consider all of the careful planning and research that architects and workers have used over the centuries to maximize the acoustics in performance venues.
As technology became more advanced throughout the 20th century, music educators continued to find ways to bring teaching and technology together. When live accompaniment wasn’t available, tape recorders were introduced. A teacher might choose to use a synthesizer to accompany a modern composition. To introduce concepts of music theory or to share a memorable performance, teachers might rely on films.
Many of the music classes in schools are focused on an element of performance. Accordingly, teachers might use a video camera or other recording device to help students prepare for a live performance. Microphones might be used to enhance sound in a large auditorium.
Clearly, technology and music lessons have been intersecting for many years. There are even more opportunities for this blending today as teachers are able to capture their students’ imaginations by appealing to their tech-savvy side.
After all, it’s rare to see a child or teen these days without a smartphone or a tablet. Why not put that ubiquitous technology to good use by introducing some apps and websites that offer excellent learning opportunities?
Tech Is No Substitute for Solid Teaching
Of course, it is not a good idea for teachers to solely rely on technology to teach their students. It is advisable if technology is used to enhance the learning experience, rather than forming the backbone of the lessons. There truly is no substitute for a solid, thorough introduction to the fundamentals, and it is always a good idea if that comes from the teacher.
Likewise, it does not make much sense to use technology simply as a way to “wow” students. While the tech initially may be fun and distracting, it will quickly pall unless it is backed up by solid learning. Kids today are just too inundated with technology to be wowed by any particular app or tool over the long term.
However, if they are continually being introduced to new concepts and being encouraged to build upon skills that they have already learned, then that same app or tool can be returned to time and again for valuable enhancement.
Use Prodigies Music
If you are looking for a solid online music education program that ensures that your kids are getting a firm grasp on the fundamentals, then look to Prodigies Music. Our fun and interactive lessons are designed to be accessible to kids of all ages and abilities.
Moreover, we provide thorough introductions to all of the basics in music education. Kids have an opportunity to learn to read music, play along with familiar tunes and even create some original compositions.
Throughout the lessons, kids, teachers and parents have opportunities to learn together and to play music together. Concepts like beats, rhythm and note reading are all covered, and kids will soon discover the joy that comes from knowing more about music.
Studies have demonstrated that kids gain all sorts of cognitive, emotional and academic benefits from music instruction. Why not start them out on the right foot by participating in some of the fun videos produced by Music Prodigies?
We make learning about music fun so that kids have an opportunity to get excited about lessons at an early age. Whether this leads to later vocal training or lessons on an instrument or not, these lessons provide a broad understanding of music fundamentals in an entertaining and engaging manner that your kids will always enjoy.