he HMTC would like to take the opportunity to again express our appreciation to all the brave souls that enhanced the learning experience of members of the music technology club. We hope that no one was misled to believe that technology can truly make you sound like Mariah Carey or Luther Vandross, theirs is a result of God-given abilities that was nurtured through endless hours of practice and hard work. Nevertheless, we believe that most of you did sound, as promised, "better than you sound in the shower". The recording company used their own discretion per instructions to decide the proper mix-down.
We had 10 faculty and staff members that participated with the students. In all we recorded three original songs co-written, performed, and produced by HMTC writing teams. We wanted to do more but time was a big factor as well as our budget for this year. The recording studio did a fantastic job and is to be commended for their on-site expertise and patience. It was truly a learning experience for all and well worth any inconvenience. The students were extremely proud of their accomplishments and now better understand the value of team work when working on large scale projects such as this undertaking.
There were more than 22 individuals who recorded on "I Believe In this Dream". Our Teacher of the Year, Dr. Wallace, took time from her schedule to record and so did a group from the guidance office. Mrs. Williams used her break time as a security officer to lend support to this project. Dr. P made sure that everything was working smoothly and checked in on several occasions to listen and observe. The Huntington Music Technology Club wishes to also express appreciation to our four high school mentors, three who were on hand for the recording session. Last but not least, we especially would like to thank Mr. Crudup for his professional assistance in videotaping the project and also for assisting in the performance of the song. I think that he had more fun recording than the kids.
We mustn't forget the true intent of this project, to foster a spirit of collaboration, have fun, and enable the students to work with you as mentors and teachers, thus honing their skills acquired through this program. Each of them expressed excitement and joy that you took time from your schedules to share this experience with them. There are times that the experience far outweighs the desired outcome. In this case, we wanted a polished production. We were rewarded with something more, precious memories of educators revealing a lighter side, being kids excited about hearing their voices in a recording studio atmosphere and grooving to a melody that was especially exemplified by Mr. Crudup. Your efforts are to be applauded.
The craft of composing music, writing lyrics, producing, copyrighting, recording and all the other tasks that goes into creating one song is an arduous task that is often taken for granted by those who are not in the business of making music. Likely, there will be no superstars found among this group or last year's. However, there is always a gem to be found if we keep mining and searching. Learning should be fun and exciting. I truly believe on the basis of many comments that I received from parents today that we accomplished that goal.
“My middle school general music classes are one of my last chances to help students discover the musician inside themselves,” says MENC member Elizabeth Ann McAnally. “Giving students the opportunity to express themselves by creating their own music is an important way to accomplish that goal.” Composition activities can boost learning.
McAnally stresses the benefits in conquering the challenges:
• Composing is time consuming. Creating a melody of even four or eight measures, requires time to improvise, develop, and revise musical ideas.
However, composing further develops other musical skills—improvising, listening, and notating.
• Students need to know the basics of notating rhythm, meter, and pitch to notate a finished piece. They then discover the importance of notation,
especially when they play each other’s compositions.
• Distributing, collecting, storing, and maintaining instruments for students to play their songs can be unwieldy. (Most general music students can’t look at notation and “hear” the melody.) Take advantage of your student's budding leadership skills and enlist their help.
• Composing can be chaotic. However, after a day of more structured activities, many adolescents thrive on a change of pace.
• Grading musical creativity is difficult. McAnally recommends grading rubrics that are clearly explained to the students beforehand.
Keyboard labs are great for composing:
• Students can use headphones, and the teacher can listen in through the networked controller.
• MIDI-compatible keyboards and notation software automatically convert student work to standard notation.
Keyboard lab workshops and classes help with design and maximizing use. This technology is highly motivating but can be too expensive for some districts.McAnally often has students compose in groups of three or four." At the "Hunt" we are especially fortunate to have the space and resources to develop a state-of-the-art recording studio and a unique magnet program for middle school students that will provide them the opportunity to be ahead of the game when they enter high school music programs. We just need the funding.