This month is Apple’s Music In Our Schools Month and as a music teacher who uses iPad in practically every music lesson, I think it’s very important to recognise the benefits of teaching music with Apple Technology. I am very lucky to teach in an Apple Distinguished School where every student has their own iPad with GarageBand and I also have a Mac suite in my classroom, running both GarageBand and Logic Pro X.
Since the beginning of this academic year, I have used Apple’s Everyone Can Create Music guide for all of Key Stage 3 lessons. The guide has had a very positive impact on the students’ attainment levels and their engagement in the tasks. The guide enables you to follow it from the beginning to end with set tasks and activities, or you can dip in and out when it suits your lesson.
Using Live Loops is a great way to introduce your students to creating music. Composing music with Live Loops creates high-quality results as all of the loops sync perfectly together in time and pitch.
When I first started composing music, due to the lack of technology available, everything had to be written on paper. This would then be practised live and then recorded in one take to my old tape recorder. When I left school played in bands, we would hire professional recording studios to record our songs. The songs were also recorded to tape and then a master copy burned to CD. All of this can now be done on iPad. The students have access to a much higher quality sounding digital output and they can record anywhere!
The Everyone Can Create Music guide enables the students to learn the necessary skills to compose high-quality music. They can start by arranging using Live Loops all the way to remixing a hit record by Justin Timberlake.
As well as developing music skills, using GarageBand to perform and create also develops many other skills. Composing and performing music develops leadership skills, eye-hand coordination, decision making and confidence skills. When the students compose using GarageBand they can share their finished song with the teacher or their peers in the classroom using AirPlay. They can also export their compositions to MP3 to be shared with family and friends. Also, using the built-in virtual instruments to perform develops the students’ confidence skills.
A lot of educators think that GarageBand is exclusive to the music classroom but it can be used in any subject area. GarageBand can be used to create background music to video projects or presentations, it can even be used to explore fractions using the Beat Sequencer. The screenshot above is how ADE Simon Pile (@mrpielee) used GarageBand in maths for Music In Our Schools Month.
Another powerful use of GarageBand is the audio recorder. Students from any subject can capture audio (voice, instruments of sounds) using the iPad microphone. The audio can be edited and manipulated using the many different sound effects. A very engaging classroom activity!
I have recently written a book on using GarageBand in the classroom which explores the different ways to create music for learning. Click here to download it: –