Thursday, September 29, 2011

Finale! Who Knew or Who Should Have Known?

           For years I have wanted to take a technology course but was never able due to class conflicts. Now the time has come, and I am enrolled in Introduction to Technological Applications in Music! Until recently, I have never heard of the musical software program called Finale, but Praise God! My eyes have been opened thanks to Dr. Stringham! Composing music has been a hidden passion of mine, and this beautiful device allows me to do just that. It may sound silly, but I arranged “Mary Had a Little Lamb” for my first Finale assignment. I can barely express my elation because I finally feel like I am learning material that is useful for me to teach to future students and most importantly, for creating Christian music, which is my favorite genre. :D

Ergo, my mind is buzzing with so many ideas I can put into practice. For example, if I were to teach a beginner music theory class, I would used Finale to encourage students to create music that helps them visually recognize the importance of beats and meters. Placing the snare drum staff in my composition allowed me to not only hear the beat but see it as well. This is ideal because the use of Finale would accommodate the tactile, visual, and auditory learning styles of music students. I also would like to use the software to create spontaneous worship (basically Christian, improvisational music) for the band at my church and possibly venture off to International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City Missouri to lead worship 24/7 there. I have noticed they use Macintosh’s GarageBand as a means to produce their music, which performs similar tasks with different outcomes. In short, it still encompasses composing. That sounds vague, but I wanted to mostly harp on Finale, so I will discuss GarageBand on a later date. In short, Finale is magic, and I look forward to creating more complex arrangements of music, possibly Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings soundtrack? 


Friday, September 9, 2011

Retention. Retention.

        As a Music concentrator at James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg VA, I often grapple with retaining long sets of instrumental music. This, of course, is a challenging task, if students, such as myself, are graded on this information. It is, especially, difficult, if many of one’s classes are music-listening based, as opposed to applied-studio based. My question is how then does one, such as an educator, go about effectively teaching students how to retain music from the Middle Ages through the use of innovative technology or multimedia? The 21st Century College Student (in particular) heavily relies on technology to further their academic and social lives. Facebook is still sky-rocketing as the primary source for web-based interaction because social networking has become quite the phenomenon. As a result, studying for classes can and is frequently put on the back burner. I say this as a general statement in lieu of the interactions I have with students as a current student. (I did not come to this conclusion through any statistical research.) Therefore, I ask, would it be beneficial for instructors to use Facebook as a legitimate educational tool to encourage second-year sophomores to retain Gregorian Chant? If so, how? Visuals have repeatedly been a great start, especially PowerPoint, but now it seems that college students are needing/wanting more than what Microsoft Office can offer. 
        Possibly the Nintendo Wii, PS3, or Bill Gate’s XBOX? The world of video games is booming because the generation living now is chiefly interested in live interaction through technological devices. If done well, the price of learning through this technique would be of no monetary value to students if university's fully give their extra dollars to see its mature and developed completion. Students could play with other students in the library who need the same knowledge while social interacting with students across the world since gaming consoles can be connected to the web. In addition, this new, pedadagogical implementation would probably encourage students to take visits to the library as many have been given the boot in numerous American communities due to apathy and low foot-traffic.