Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Developing Music Technology

Developing Music Technology,

A lot of the technology that I have introduced so far at my current school has had a positive impact in helping to develop and facilitate learning. However, this is mainly to enhance the learning experience rather than learning new skills in Music Technology. That means equipping our student for the future to make music in their home environment. So far we have used Kahoot, Weebly, Websites for research etc. As far as Music Technology, we have used Sonic Pi, Hookpad Theory, and Musescore. These are freeware and hasn’t cost anything to the student. With like most free software, there are extensive limitations to what is possible. This is what I have used in terms of developing Music Technology at the school.

Developing Music Technology

Free Software

Sonic Pi,

Sonic Pi is a program that allows you to make music by programming. I worked with some of my older students creating a piece of music using Sonic-Pi. Whilst the end product that was produced by the student was satisfactory in the whole. However, the program is greatly unstable and refused to work a lot of the time on some of the computers. The IT support team were unable to help the students with bugs or crashes as they were unfamiliar with the software. A lot of teaching time was spent resolving bugs and crashes rather than aiding students progress with the course. However, students did meet the learning outcomes and it did allow for students who were not previously inspired by music to get involved. 


Musescore is a basic notation software. This is useful for notation basics for students in middle school but does not have the extras that are necessary for the IBDP course. For the middle school, it can be quite slow to create any meaningful results as the software is cumbersome. This means students often get bored or frustrated using this software.


A free DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that means you can sequence and use recorded audio. It reminds me of early FL studio but is not as intuitive and is confusing to use. However, it is free to use and students of all standards can create meaningful results.

Cloud-based software

With BYO devices, some of the best options for students using Music Technology are cloud-based software’s. Meaning students do not have to download any software. Most of these types of software have been captured by the company Musicfirst in the marketplace.


The free version of this cloud-based program I have used in explaining the concepts of song structure and structuring music. It uses building blocks rather than notation so it is easier to help understand the concepts and ideas of music theory. It uses modern and classical music so it relevant to the student.

The Hookpad is great online music composition tool which works by sequencing and using harmonic building blocks. It is very accessible and intuitive and quick to produce results for students. However, with the free version, there are limitations to how much music can be produced and there is no possibility to save any work produced and export what is produced. With a subscription, there are possibilities to export work into Musescore to help the students to understand how their musical creations can relate to music notation. Or be exported into any DAW such as LMMS or Logic or Garageband. The subscription also gives classroom support and teaching guides. Subscription is $349 regardless of the size of the school.


Noteflight is similar to Musescore as it is a notation based software. However, the main advantage is that it is Cloud based. Classes can be created to monitor and share ideas. There are even lesson templates that are created to help demonstrate ideas In its own literature
The classroom subscription offers

·      Noteflight Premium accounts for every user, accessible on any device
·      A private community for secure communication and collaboration
·      Unlimited groups for organizing classes and ensembles
·      Activity templates for assignments
·      Perform mode for listening to and performing along with selected parts of a score
·      Discussion and assignment forums for communication and assessment

For ASA’s such as the school band, it is easy to share the scores and arrangements with the group.


Is a sequencer/audio recorder similar to LMMS but works on the cloud. It is more modern and more user-friendly than LMMS. There is a free version but only so much is achievable in that format, for example, there is no sound recording. This is updated for the classroom edition. Where work can be saved and groups can interact using Google Hangouts. Also, audio recording to allow singing or live instruments to be played with sequenced instruments.


Some useful websites to aid teaching music. - Involves lessons in teaching music theory with games to help improve sight reading and recognizing intervals. However, it is straightforward in its teaching so can be dry in its approach to teaching music theory. - Lots of fun games on notation, music history, identifying instruments etc.

More expensive software – Standard Music Technology for most schools

Garageband – A mac only software that allows sequencing, recording, and sharing. It is a great teaching music software and is available on all Apple Macs free.

Sibelius – A notation software that is available in all formats. It meets the requirements for the IB in order to present scores with the correct format. It has lots of features that aid composition. Most of the IB students that I teach have this on their personal computers

Logic – The industry standard sequencer and sound recorder. It is an upgrade from Garageband, but a considerable upgrade. Very useful for performance recordings required by the IBDP and the Cambridge exams

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