The world we live in today revolves around technology. Creating music used to be the realm of professional musicians with extravagant budgets and access to studio equipment that mere mortals could only dream of.
Fortunately, this technological revolution now means that anyone with a musical idea and a half-decent laptop can produce tracks to rival any you hear in the charts. Chances are, the ones in the charts started on a similar laptop, probably using the same software!
This technology-driven levelling of the musical playing field has spawned a generation of bedroom producers, artists and DJs of which many will have the desire to pass on this expertise, inspire others and become great music tutors. Having said that, becoming a music tech teacher is not as simple as showing a group of young people to knock up a beat on Logic or lay down a vocal on top of a YouTube instrumental!
At Community Music, we want to help develop and produce well-rounded tutors, who understand that technology is a powerful and flexible tool that can be harnessed to achieve creative expression and fulfilment during their classes, and is not the sole reason for the classes happening in the first place! Community Music’s core ethos is to provide music making opportunities for people of all backgrounds and we aim to help those with a desire to become music tech teacher to utilise their skills and harness technology to help reach those who might not have access to music education otherwise.
Understanding that music technology and production is actually a very transferable skill and can be applied to almost any industry is a starting point. As a teacher of music tech, you should be aware of all the avenues that music production and technology can lead you down, for example, music is used in advertising, content marketing, entertainment & radio, news, social media etc which means that there is a demand for that skill too, not to mention it boosting the students computer skills!
Having experience in the world of music tech helps because you can pass that onto your students and being able to troubleshoot any tech issues quickly and working under pressure is a common trait as it helps your session run more smoothly.
Being able to adapt your lesson plan to throw in some music technology as a way to engage or highlight key topics gives you that extra confidence to know that you can resonate with your students. Keeping up with youth culture or pop trends can help you throw in something of interest when energy levels are low. For example, if we were doing a session on health & safety, we might load up the video of Stormzy’s Glastonbury performance and get them to list all of the hazards that they can see and what they think was put in place in order to combat those hazards.
Drill music is a genre that the youth of inner London are listening to so maybe using a Drill track as part of a maths lesson to work out percentages. For example, a general Drill tack will generally be between 130-140 BPM. Let say we found a track at 138 BPM. If you increased the BPM by 15% and demonstrate that live using a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), what would the final BPM be. Things like that can really keep your students engaged so being able to reference things that resonate with them might help their understanding.
Even if you don’t want to become a music teacher, you can still implement bits of technology in your sessions.
Utilising all of your music technology to fit the purpose or outcome of the sessions will open up a new way to engage your students. For example, if one of your objectives is to get everyone to learn about rhythm and time keeping, you could open up software like Logic Pro X and use the grids and metronome to explain it, or if you wanted to show the ranges of an instrument, you could load up that instrument in Logic Pro X and demonstrate the sounds and how they work together.
If you are teaching drums, it would be more manageable to set your students up on electronic drum kits through headphones to keep the noise levels down and have multiple students practice at once. The way you implement music technology into your teaching is totally down to your creative mind so being open for it is definitely something to factor in.
Music tech is definitely a resource but it can also be a reward for completing tasks and assignments, especially if you’re able to show your students some tips and tricks on how their favourite artists are making music too, it helps build new bonds with them.
If you’re a vocal coach, implementing music technology on topics such as performance techniques and harmonisation could bring out the best in your students because you could actually record what they do and play it back to explain your points on performance or play it back for your students to harmonise to.
There are endless ways to use music technology in your sessions, whether it’s music related or not. It just takes planning and actually factoring in that you have many more options available to you.
If you have a passion for music or an expertise you would like to share and you are interested in becoming a music tech teacher, we’d strongly advise you to consider taking our accredited Music Leader Training Programme where we go through everything you need to know to get your music teaching career going. There is also a session on implementing music technology into your teaching too. Check out our introduction to music technology and production course as well where we teach you the foundations of music production software Logic Pro X.
If you have any teaching tips and advice from your own practice and experience, please share them in our Facebook group and if you would like to write a guest blog for us, get in contact.
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