When people, especially teachers, think about the classroom and technology a sense of dread comes upon them. They think about all the things students will be doing instead of working on their class assignments. They also think about all the distractions, disruptions, and disrespect that can be found online. But not everything about technology is bad. More and more society is becoming dependent upon new and better technology, and if the schools don't follow suite how will they compete. Implementing new technology becomes especially important in music classrooms because music classrooms seem to always be left in the dust when it comes to new things. But there are so many programs and resources out there that can help bring a classroom (that's stuck in the Renaissance) into the 21st Century. One of the best things about the pandemic in 2020 is that the world realized that technology - computers, wifi, etc - was not a privilege but a necessity. The world realized that every person needed access to computers and wifi in order to continue teaching and learning. This meant that the music industry and music teachers had to rise to the occasion and make the (large) leap to figure out how to use technology efficiently and effectively in order to help the next generation not fall behind. Band directors and private instructors were asked to quickly find out what softwares worked with instruments and what did not. We still have a long way to go, but we have made a huge stride toward catching up to the everyone else in the 21st century. I am by no means a technology expert, but I grew up in the technology generations and actively seek new information and the best products for their sound and price. These are some examples based on my experiences:
Here are some examples of technology that can be critical in running a successful music classroom:
Percussive Arts Association
The Percussive Arts Society is especially important to me and to educating my future students because percussion is the instrument that I am most passionate about. Through PAS you can find all kinds of educational materials from music, to videos, to lesson plans. To access all these resources you do need to purchase a membership, but if you want to be a truly great music educator the fee is worth it.
As a percussionist I like to think I know a lot about teaching students - specifically percussion students - but I've realized there is a lot that I don't know and that the PAS website can offer materials to help me teach along with suggestions on how to teach different things. I hope to have a percussion ensemble or a percussion class where I can utilize the information this amazing society has to offer.
Zoom is the software that almost everyone in the world is familiar with after the year 2020. Zoom has been one of the most responsive companies in terms of listening to the music industry. They have actively attempted to update their software so that instruments of all types can be played over their platform - and they should sound decent. Other platforms are working toward this goal but Zoom has done a good job and it's free.
The music industry is one of the highest bidders in the apple tech industry. Apple may not have the superior product when it comes to software and availability, but it takes a long time for an industry that large to change the products that they use. So most Band Directors still use Apple Products in their every day classes. Products such as Apple TVs to show and listen to compositions, Airdrop to share files and music, as well as iMacs to assess students playing ability.
Just like a lot of people in the music industry I have a lot of products made by Apple and I cannot wait to use them in the classroom. The most helpful thing that apple products are able to do is share things through airdrop or over wifi to tvs. With Airdrop I can send out music, critiques, or videos with a select group of students or all the students that have iPhones. With Apple Tvs, I can show my students recordings of the pieces that they are playing so that they know what the piece should sound like.
Band the App
Band is an app that does everything a teacher could want to do to stay in touch and connected with students. It's designed for marching band but can be used in any large group where a teacher needs to update kids with information constantly.
If I were to teach a large group of students, I could use this app in order to communicate with them all at once. As a teacher its hard to communicate with 50+ students at one time, so software like this is a good thing to utilize in a classroom of that size. From my experience there are other great apps and programs like this but few are designed to share music, drill sheets, and up to date information like this one.
Smartmusic is a music testing and perfecting program. Through Smartmusic music directors can test their students playing ability and get access to all kinds of teaching/video software that will help students master music.
Smartmusic is used in music classes all over the country because it is one of the best softwares out there. When dealing with a lot of students at once it can be hard to assess everyone's playing ability. The nice thing about Smartmusic is that students record themselves playing, so I can critique it later, or have the software give feedback.
These are only a few examples of the amazing software and resources that are available for music educators to use and bring their classes into the 21st century.