After a few months of daily use, the iPad becomes as normal as the old exercise book, text book or pencil case. The students open them and expect to use some app or other. For most first years, music is a subject which received very little attention in primary school. It’s a subject which is treated with a degree of tolerance but with little genuine interest or engagement. It is, therefore, with huge delight that I see students composing minimalist tracks in GarageBand, dance music with Arix 303 and Sfx with mad pad. Students who can barely spell minimalism are able to organise motives and use them within a composition. The most disinterested student is still creating good structured works with loops and drum patterns. The feedback from parents has been so positive. They can hear their kids experimenting and creating music in homes where musical experience has not progressed much beyond local radio stations. The most frequently asked question is about progression to Gcse, a standard to which,traditionally 12/180 students progress. The skills are available on IPad, but the exam and assessment criteria areaway behind. It’ll be a long time before this newly harnessed skill will be part of a formal assessment, yet, it is more musically valid than the standard methodology and musical experience available at key stage 3.
Nonetheless, it s very encouraging and is clearly achieving what I d hoped; a greater interest and higher level of engagement in and with First year music.