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How to Engage Students Through Music Education

Students of all ages benefit from musical training and lessons. Whether the student is an adult picking up an instrument for the first time, or a child or teen, music engages parts of the brain not touched by other activities. Recent studies show that music education in early years of development can help foster better reading skills, concentration, and coordination.1

Gone are the days where students just play sheet music over and over again to learn to play a musical instrument. Today, the advent of advanced technologies has provided additional learning tools for music teachers to employ. For example, in Billings, Montana, students are filmed and recorded while they practice. Utilizing these recording methods has provided the students immediate feedback on what they are doing, and allows the teacher to quickly illustrate how to improve.

Children of today are surrounded by technology whether in the form of computers, smartphones, or video games. Technology has captured their minds and as a result, some schools are utilizing tablet computers such as the iPad to help engage students in the process of learning music and producing music.

State-of-the-art technology, such as the GarageBand program can be applied directly to music education and have proven to be effective tools for music instructors for its ability to record performances, and for students, it is an easy interface to learn editing and mixing, and variety of sounds to create music. The iPad app Notion, produced by Notion Music allows users to easily create musical scores by having students directly write music onto a music sheet and immediately hear what they have written.

Technology for Music Education, “TI:ME”, is a non-profit educational organization that helps school systems and teachers employ technology into the classrooms to help inspire imagination and engage students in learning music.2 The organization believes that “Music technology has the advantage of providing instant feedback and allowing students with varying levels of ability to succeed.” While the organization does emphatically state that musical concepts are the foundation for a good music education program, technology does assist in keeping students interested and motivated.

Teaching in today’s high-tech world can present challenges for instructors. The age old practice of reading and writing alone, does not engage the brains of young students. Our world is filled with an abundance of stimuli and immediate gratification. Harnessing the powers of technology in the classroom, especially for musical education can assist in keeping students excited and anxious for learning about music.

Humanitarian, musician and vocalist of U2, Bono is quoted as saying “music can change the world because it can change people.” In the same way, a teacher has the opportunity to change the world with every student they teach.

1Moreno S., Bialystok E., Barac R., Schellenberg G., Cepeda N. & Chau T. 2011. Short-Term Music Training Enhances Verbal Intelligence and Executive Function. Psychological Science

Retrieved from: http://www.ti-me.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=176:make-time-in-your-classroom&catid=1:latestnews&Itemid=157

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