Recently, I was asked whether or not iPads – or tablets – could be used in music education. The answer is YES! While I was writing down how they could support learning in this discipline for a principal, I thought I should share this list here as well. Below, you will find five ways iPads can assist in music. No, these are not the only ways, just the ones I felt were the most relevant.
iPads support students learning basic music theory. For example, the Garageband application contains the feature of metronomes and pulses, which help students understand timing and tempo of music. Nota for iPad teaches chords, note relationship, clefs, dynamics and scales.
iPads can also support music education by providing a platform to read music scores. Not only can the purchased scores be uploaded into applications including iBooks and Adobe Reader, but apps can be purchased that read and playback student created sheet music. Examples of these apps include Music Reader and Forscore.
As well, iPads support students in music creation. In Garageband, a number of Smart Instruments”, such as guitars, keyboards and percussion instruments, are available. Students can use these instruments to record their own music. This feature can be as simple as playing a basic song on a keyboard, or increase in difficulty with learners attempting to master chords and keys. Garageband also provides the function of music mixing. In this feature, students can either create their own tracks through loops, jingles, and personally recording tracks, or take existing music and remix them into original works. Any of these student-centered learning activities can be implemented as either individual or collaborative tasks where kids are actively thinking and engaging. This not only supports music education, but also allows for integration into core subject areas to create innovative CTF-based projects.
iPads are also capable of being used to support performance tasks. For example, applications can be used to support electric instruments, such a bass guitars. These instruments can be plugged into the iPad, with the sound they create being outputted through the tablet.
Last, iPads can be used to create student learning artifacts. For example, students can use the device to record themselves using a standard video recording app performing a song on a chosen instrument. This can be then used in multiple ways, such as a summative assessment to be handed in for grading, a digital file to be attached to a student e-Portfolio, or an artifact uploaded into IRIS to share with both teachers and parents.
Good luck in supporting learners in creating work, rather than consuming!