Ok, I’ve been teaching music in schools since 1996, but I don’t still have my master exam in music education – I have a MA-exam with major in musicology, but I hardly can confess that – I try to be practical musician and teacher – not a paper-tasty sahara-dry “Beatles-researcher”. Classical piano is still missing from full exam – and a Master Thesis!
I decided to make my thesis in the field of music technology pedagogy. The subject is the usage of digital audio workstation (DAW) – I chose GarageBand.
So I started a music technology project in my job in school in a big city in Finland. I’m teaching grades 7-9 – including so called music classes. Music classes have three music lessons in a week. They are talented, exuberant and demanding young people – I can tell that there’s lots of work with them! I made the project with four groups.
In my school there is only two PC workstations in the music class. And they are slow and hasn’t any DAWs installed in them. So I brought my old MacBook Pro to school.
In the first two to three hours I taught some very basic features in GarageBand: loops, making midi- and audiotracks, making new tracks, simple project settings and so on. Then we made some technical exercices with these basic features.
I made a little workstation in the very little room near the class: MBP, ordinary computer speakers and and old Yamaha-keyboard. Something like that – sorry about bad quality of picture…
After the teaching session students made their projects in groups of two or three. They had three hours to complete their project. I didn’t give any instructions about what the project “should” be. Just: “Make your own tune.”
And they did.
After all had made their project, I made a little survey. Here is some observations:
– very few had experience making music with DAW.
– nobody wanted teacher being watching their project (I made ordinary music lessons during their projects).
– almost every group made things things that I didn’t taught. There were automations, custom synths, effects and so on
– almost every group felt that three hours were running and their project was just beginning
– almost everyone had positive toughts about project
I also checked the web-browser after their project. There weren’t any game sites, Facebook and so on in the history. There were almost nothing in the web histories – maybe some YouTube music videos or GarageBand instructions.
I think the groups experienced some kind of Flow during their GarageBand-project. But the flow, letting space for experimentation and controlling too much are subjects in the future…
Reserch plan for Jyväskylä Universitity Music education department in comments – in finnish, sorry…