Technology has become more prevalent in schools in recent years, with a big uptick due to the pandemic. Teaching online during the pandemic has shown us that high-quality tech tools are out there–but how do we continue to use these resources in our classrooms today?
The creation and use of digital music has also become more common today. How are we exposing our students to creating music through technology? I have found some online music resources that have transformed my teaching as an elementary general music teacher and have provided engaging content for my students.
One of the most popular technology applications in my music classroom allows for students to explore creating and manipulating different sounds. The Song Maker application is a great application where students can explore creating songs while considering music elements such as: Melody, Harmony, Tempo, Instrumentation. I use this application with my kindergarten students as we focus in on creating melodies and musical patterns.
One activity I found to be fun for older students is to have them complete the melody to a song their know. One of the most valuable parts of this application is the real time playback of students work. The playback allows even my youngest students the ability to hear their creations, reflect on their work, and make changes to match their thoughts.
2. Groove Pizza
Students create and connect different beats of various musical styles to construct a musical work. Students are exposed to and can create beats associated with Afro-Latin, Jazz, Techno, Rock, and Hip-Hop. These beats can be downloaded or shared to various music applications such as SoundTrap or Noteflight. I use this application particularly with my lower elementary students, but it can probably work with other age groups as well. Students can hear the differences between musical styles such as Jazz and Hip Hop.
Semi-Conductor is an A.I. Google experiment where students get to be in the seat of an orchestra conductor and control the sounds of various string instruments. I have students participate in this activity as we explore the different instrument families in the orchestra. Students, through conducting, can control the dynamics and tempo of the strings for a particular song. They move their hands high for a louder dynamic, low for a softer dynamic, and move their hands at various speeds to control the tempo.
Coding has grown in popularity in recent years, so I wanted to bring it into the music classroom. I currently use Coldplay Dance Party from Code.org. Coldplay Dance Party has students create a dance party to music on various beats intervals. Code.org, like most coding activities, walks students through an activity step by step, allowing for students to not be so overwhelmed by the act of coding if it is new to them. There is a variety of popular songs so students to choose from as they code the dance party. They can add various characters and change dance moves and backgrounds after a predetermined number of measures. Students enjoy this activity because they can interact with popular music.
Musicplay Online is an online teaching tool that offers music lessons, games, and instruments for students and teachers to use. Games such a Major or Minor, High or Low, Note, Note Name Memory, and many more provide supplementary activities to various lessons and provide students with instant feedback. As a teacher who is responsible for teaching students online, the online music lessons and instruments have allowed for students to be more interactive in their learning. Combined with an application with video recording, I have had students play their songs with the online xylophone to share a musical creation while learning from home. Lessons have videos of songs, modules, quizzes, rhythm, and solfa practice that can be used by students and teachers to practice and learn various musical content.
These technology tools have been increasingly helpful for me as a music educator. I continue to look for technology tools to help enhance and engage my students’ learning in the music classroom.