Why having a music technology class is important.
since the day he first walked in. I have been going by and dropping little comments to him, but no response until that moment. So I walked over and say, "Hey. What's up?" He begins asking questions. Can you tell me again how to do this? Well what if I want to do that? How can I add this? BOOM! A breakthrough!
Over the next two weeks, the students have completed two additional projects. Justin's grades on those projects were all A's. On each of those assignments, he not only is completing the projects but is going beyond the assignment, asking questions about how to add additional ideas about his creations. He walks into class with a "What's up Mr. J?" before sitting down and getting to work on something. In addition to the assignments in class, he is going home and getting on soundtrap to produce more music. Through this process I had said very little to try to "motivate" him into action. I simply introduced the tool and showed him how to use it. The music and the technology took over from there. And then I got the email. During my planning period I opened my email and saw one with the subject line: Schedule change. This isn't unusual. Typically its because a new student has moved in and they put them in my class, but not this one. I opened the email and Justin's name is at the top of the schedule change. They have dropped him from music tech to put him in a remedial math "enrichment" class. I literally almost cried.
I won't go into all of the details, but I am working with his math enrichment teacher to get him some time in the lab. She uses music tech as a carrot to motivate him and I guess it works to an extent, but DAMN! This kid is finally engaged! I discovered that this kid is intelligent. He doesn't have a learning disability, there's just nothing in school that engages him. Justin speaks to me when I see him in the hallway and I encourage him to work hard in his other classes. He tells me that he is and that he is going to get back into my class. I believe him.
Music technology is so important to so many students like and unlike Justin. The experience of being in the school band or orchestra or chorus is great for those students, but some kids just have no interest in playing an instrument or singing in a choir. Music tech opens the doors to musical creation and expression for those students. It gives them something to look forward to in the same way that the band, orchestra and choir rooms do for their music students. Word has gotten around and I now have students that I don't know coming up and asking how they can get into the music tech class. When music tech shows up on their schedule its like they won the "Connections Class" lottery, and in some ways I guess that's true.
Does what I am teaching in my classroom really matter? Yes
Am I making a difference in the lives of my students? With some help from music technology I am, and that makes me really happy.
Music Technology Teacher Network