A HEALTHY MUSIC CURRICULUM employs several modes of teaching and learning. Creative music activities can be used to reinforce, augment, or even deliver portions of K-12 music courses. Other worthy components such as delivering information and performing music are fundamental and, at times, may be more appropriate. Music educators wishing to tap the appeal and potency of creative music projects that employ technology to support and enhance their music curriculum have many options, summed up broadly in three approaches: independent lesson or activity, creative project or unit, and creativity-based curriculum.
One teacher may decide to begin modestly by augmenting a normal instructional unit or two with a brief creative music lesson or activity. Elementary classroom music students might use loops to create rhythmic ostinato accompaniments for a song or Orff arrangement they have learned. Middle school general music students might explore sounds on keyboard synthesizers as part of a unit on timbre. High school students in jazz band or an elective keyboard class might work on blues improvisation concepts with Band-in-a-Box software. Lessons such as these might take one to three class periods.
In each of these, the creative music activity is a welcome “add-on” to more conventional learning activities. The creative lesson reinforces the curriculum, which remains basically unchanged; however, a window of time must be found to accomplish the creative task. Teachers may need to devote additional time to learning, or refamiliarizing students with, certain music technology tools when engaging in these isolated activities.
This approach is great for metaphorically “dipping one’s toe in the pool” to get a feel for employing a technology-based, creative activity with students. It may also be the best plan for certain music educators, such as the instrumental teacher whose schedule is packed with lessons, rehearsals, and performances but who finds he or she has a few “down times” during the year.