This fall, middle school students will return to M.S. 180 in the Co-op City area of the Bronx to find a newly-installed, state-of-the-art Music Technology Lab in their general music classroom. ETM Music Teacher Ian Kanakaris will use the Lab’s many technological tools to enhance his music classes and create a more engaging and active learning environment for the students.
The Lab is equipped with thirty digital audio workstations for students and a master station for the music teacher. Each of these workspaces includes a Mac computer with a 27-inch screen, MIDI (Music Instrument Digital Interface) keyboard, electric guitar, audio interface, and vocal microphone. The equipment and installation were made possible by grants secured by M.S. 180 Principal Frank Uzzo, from the Bronx Borough President’s office, and City Council member Larry Seabrook.
Incorporating technology into general music instruction will allow M.S. 180 students to fully produce their own material; they will be able to write their own music, record themselves playing instruments, and manipulate musical tracks. Classes will highlight how to generate media projects by combining music and technology. Middle-schoolers can link their workstations in order to collaborate in small groups on various hands-on projects, including writing musical arrangements and jingles, recording podcasts, creating audio loops, and scoring short commercials, all of which they will edit themselves to build polished student portfolios.
ETM Director of Programs Peter Pauliks designed the Lab and incorporated technology into the music curriculum with an eye toward what would most interest and engage middle school students. He shares, “While students in many schools today have little or no formalized music instruction, students do have a sense of music and how it affects their everyday life. Music teachers must capitalize on this interest through student-centered projects and lessons, all while remaining hip!” Mr. Pauliks believes that the Music Technology Lab at M.S. 180 is the leading example of a new kind of music education. Students will still be learning general music skills, but will have access to a great set of tools to help them. He declares, “I believe this nontraditional music classroom will become the norm in our schools. This is the future of music education.”
Indeed, this innovative program was built on a solid foundation of promoting arts and music education at M.S. 180. ETM has partnered with M.S. 180 since 2009, and the new Music Technology Lab is a natural extension of the strength of this partnership. During the upcoming school year, every student at M.S. 180 will attend general music classes in the new Lab, and have access to this new technology. In addition, ETM will continue to work with M.S. 180 to offer elective band, jazz band, and string orchestra to interested students.
Over the past two years of partnership, Principal Uzzo has demonstrated a significant commitment to arts education. He believes that the Music Technology Lab in particular will enhance and update the music education at the school. “The development of the music lab brings this learning into the 21st century,” he says, “It gives all our students an opportunity to experience the highest level of music education through the use of technology.”
Mr. Pauliks has already provided two 90-minute professional development sessions to M.S. 180’s faculty, to introduce them to the Lab’s equipment and capabilities. By welcoming the entire school staff to learn about the Lab and the school’s overall music programming, ETM and Principal Uzzo seek to build awareness and advocacy for the importance of music education, and also to support school pride.
ETM plans to hold informational sessions in the lab for parents, teachers and other interested community members, to help them learn more about what the school offers and what is possible with music technology. But the real experts will be the students, who start their classes in September.
If you would be interested in getting a tour of the new Lab, please contact ETM at (212) 972-4788.