Dr. King Students Use Technology to Become Music Producers

     Published on 2/26/16   Tagged under:    District News    Dr King Elementary School   

“I’ll have that play for a little bit and then I’ll bring the drums and guitar back in at the end,” Dr. King fifth grader Dy’Jierre Jackson explained as he moved his finger across the iPad screen, working on his musical composition.
Thanks to a grant that his music teacher, Robert Brown, received from the SCSD Educational Foundation, Dy’Jierre and his classmates have the unique experience of using the Apple app Garage Band to create their own music on iPads.
“When you’re making a song, you have to picture it in your head like it’s a real song on the radio,” Dy’Jierre said. “Then, you just go with it!”
Mr. Brown noted that students have to demonstrate a core knowledge of the fundamentals of music before they are able to graduate to the iPads. Dy’Jierre, for instance, takes drum lessons twice a week and is part of the school band. In fact, he was the first student in Dr. King’s history to be selected for All-County for his drum skills! Fittingly, he was one of the first students to experiment with the new technology.
“They need to be ready for it in order for it to be effective,” Mr. Brown explained. “But my goal is to bring the outside in for them. I’m trying to get them to understand that they can play music and make music without an in depth knowledge. The kids like beats and drums… I’ve learned that if I keep things relevant, the kids are more engaged.”
As students continue their mastery of Garage Band, they will eventually learn to write their own lyrics and melodies or beats to be added. Mr. Brown hopes to burn students’ final compositions to a CD and play it over the school’s speakers during the morning announcements!
But the school’s new iPads aren’t just for the older, more experienced music students. Kindergarteners and first graders enjoy an educational app called Math Bingo, while second graders are introduced to basic music through a Xylophone app. By fourth and fifth grades, students are using apps that act as music flash cards, quizzing them on how to read music and practice their keyboard skills.
“It enhances what I’m teaching them here in the classroom,” Mr. Brown said. “I can tell them or show them the same thing, but when they have the iPads in their hands and they are seeing the notes and experiencing things themselves, they just get it!”
Thank you, Mr. Brown, for getting students excited about the power of music!
This is one of 19 projects funded by the SCSD Educational Foundation in 14 schools this year, totaling $50,000. The SCSD Educational Foundation has funded more than $750,000 in SCSD projects since 2003.