iPad Music

My daughter, a soon-to-graduate senior in high school, is taking a well-deserved change this last trimester. We purposefully encouraged her to cut back formal high school learning (which she eagerly accepted) and instead, to set up a trimester learning about things she wants to in ways that work for her. (Perhaps I will blog more on this plan in the future.) Less homework and less structured activities has not, as I feared, led to a rampant increase in Netflix.

One of her goals was to increase time at the piano. She’s no longer taking formal lessons, but loves to play on her own and work through piano and vocal pieces.  She’s been playing over an hour a day – which never would have been possible with a super busy high school schedule. This is good not only for her as a musician, but good for her mind and soul. It’s good for creativity. It feeds an area of her that is not met in formal school

pianoipadI heard her playing something this morning that I didn’t recognize. As I walked into the living room, I see her with her iPad on the piano. She found an app that had guitar chords and the lyrics for hundreds (probably thousands) of songs. She was taking this info and playing them on the piano. She was having to refresh her music theory skills to remember all the chords, figure out the melodic line and then make the songs more complex by changing the chords.

Definitely a worthy learning experience, and a lovely accompaniment on a Sunday morning!

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Choir and Technology

I’m currently at a conference, although not really. My daughter is singing in a national honor choir (congrats!) and I’m here as her “chaperone.” Basically, it means I have a ton of freetime while she is in rehearsal!

As chaperone, I can go to sessions and concerts. I was excited to see a fellow blogger Chris Russell presenting today. (To be clear, Chris is truly a blogger with useful information. I just happen to vent on a WordPress site from time to time….)

I’ve seen Chris present number of times at education technology conferences, but really enjoyed seeing a presentation in a music conference setting. Many different kinds of jokes from this perspective!

It’s pretty clear that choir classrooms are not the first to jump on the technology bandwagon (except for Chris!) He did a great job setting up why it’s crucial to be using technology. He points out (very accurately) that the kids are using technology in your class already, whether you like it or know it.

I especially appreciated two thoughts. One was a phrase I haven’t heard before — but just loved and will use (with credit, of course!) The concept of technology integration vs. outtegration. He feels that most of the tech use in music/choir classes has been outegration — a recording made outside of class, or listening outside of class. Instead, the use needs to be in class.

Second, was attributed to someone I neglected to note – but the quote was, “Are you here to learn or are you here to change?” This is a great way to think about technology in classrooms. We should never be using tech in a classroom just for learning the same way we always have. Does the choir classroom look the same way it did 50 years ago? Instead, technology allows us to change  the way the classroom looks and the way the learning happens.

The rest of the session covered 9 excellent strategies for stepping in to the shallow end of the SAMR model: substitution and augmentation. This is a great way to approach a group of people who aren’t comfortable with tech. There were definitely a few of those people sitting by me.

The audience asked some great questions. It seemed to me that it was a group of folks hungry for information about this topic. It is definitely scary to some, but this wasn’t a group that seemed resistant – quite the opposite. It was clear that some of them were familiar with the concepts, had used some of the tools. They were there because they were excited by the possibilities and wanted to learn more. I left feeling very positive about the direction this is going. I think there will be many more opportunities for Chris to share his knowledge with this group!