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Transforming music teaching with the iPad

Published on 14/01/14

Music technology has had an increasing presence in most music classrooms for a number of years, but the arrival of the iPad has had, in a short space of time, a profound impact on the creative work of our students.
Whilst exploring music through composing has formed the cornerstone of our key stage 3 (6th to 8th grade) music curriculum for very many years, in the last two years, as we have started to investigate the possibilities the iPad offers, we have seen a transformation in the students’ motivation in composition lessons and the quality of work they have produced.

What is it that makes the iPad so transformational? It is not specifically the individual aspects of technology that we are utilising – sequencing software, audio recording, video camera, film editing – as these all existed before. It is the fact that these have all been brought together on the same device, are therefore portable, and are easy to learn to use that makes the iPad so exciting.

In year 8 lessons, students exploring the Blues style have been able to write and record their own Blues song to a much higher level than ever before – they use GarageBand to create backing tracks, and then write and record their own live vocal parts above this. This is an example of one song which was created in just three lessons: