Last Saturday was a performance day for many of the students. The traditional performances of soloists and choir were excellent. But, of equal value were two workshops running in the music dept. The first was a demonstration by 4 13 year old girls on how they had composed songs. Their use of IPad apps, in particular GarageBand, was highlighted to the audience. They showed how they had conceived, developed and recorded their ideas, creating a fairly passable mix version on the iPad. The enduing live performances were excellent.

This was followed by a relatively unrehearsed Blues session. The drums were provided by GarageBand app kits, the guitars and bass were plugged into IPads via Alesis io docks, and the keyboards were taken from the GarageBand keyboard options with Pentatonic minor Blues selected. The session worked well, with good demonstrations of the various kits, amps, classic rock keys etc. The performers were 12/13 year old boys.

What would have been excellent would have been to use the Jam session on the iPad, but that limits the performers to 4, and also, we find that players are regularly dropped from a session and have to constantly reconnect.

The IPad, as a performance tool, has shown itself in a great light. That these KS3 students are able to achieve these great levels with technology, especially in song writing, is an excellent indicator of the IPad’s value in curricular music.
Students can all create a 12 bar blues sequence, they can all learn the pattern and even the weakest student can use smart instruments to play the pattern in a live performance. This would never be a satisfying proposal for the weak student with a Casio keyboard! Confident performers are an excellent product of IPad teaching and learning.