ICT provides a rich and flexible learner-centred environment in which students can experiment and take risks when developing new understanding.
As a subject, music has a history of being one of the most boring, “bludge” subjects that exists in some schools. I know that the school I went to it was exactly the same. Music in years nine and ten were where you spent your electives time if you didn’t want to do much. But as ICT grows and becomes more readily available in schools, there is the opportunity for students to learn a great deal in music and do it in a fun, hands on approach. With things starting as simply as having the ability to share a website on a projector screen or Interactive Whiteboard, to having digital instruments that link to computer programs and the internet! There are now endless possibilities in the music classroom through ICT.
A standard music assignment is to write a melody and an accompanying bass line. For many years the only way to hear that melody was to have it played on the piano. To make changes, it was back to the paper copy with an eraser. Now, with music programs such as Sibelius and Finale, with just a few clicks of the mouse, you can hear it played, make instant changes then hear it again. These programs are simple to use and the students have the ability to produce their assignments in a way that is comparable to industry standards.
There is the ability for students to download programs to teach them to play instruments such as the guitar. There are also numerous CD’s and DVD’s also available to learn almost any instrument. An entire class can learn to play the guitar at their own pace, able to cater to the learning needs of each individual student, yet also being able to pay music as a whole class in an ensemble situation with all students involved.
There are also institutions that have set up ICT access for those students who are in schools that don’t have the funding to be able to implement large scale ICT programs. Places such as The Soundhouse have studios with digital drum kits and keyboards that allow for the hands on, student based learner. For more info see their website http://www.soundhouse.com.au/
The Arts Centre also has music education programs that vary from learning about the orchestra to their new Digital Learning Hub Music Technology & New Media. Taken from the Arts Centre website, “this exciting venue boasts high tech learning labs, world class vocal booths and recording studios, a full video editing suite and green screen capability.” For more on the Arts Centre Hub see their website http://www.theartscentre.com.au/discover/education/digital-learning-hub.aspx
Through projects such as these, the students can take not only risks in their learning, but also greater control of their learning in a practical approach through the use of ICT.