Music is a difficult subject to teach. It can be loud. It can be expensive. It can be a minefield of different abilities. Not to mention, many teachers still find it to be a terrifying subject due to their own lack of musical know-how. To a certain extent, there is always some aspect of performance when it comes to music. Therefore, if you are even a little bit anxious about the subject, it is understandably stressful to teach.
Many schools opt to have a ‘music specialist’. I am one such teacher having taught music in schools or many years. However, I do feel a bit conflicted about the very nature of being a ‘music specialist’. From time to time, I do worry that my role sends out the wrong message to the children. Do they believe that music is something that is separate from the rest of their educational journey and that it is ‘specialist’? With that in mind, I am always very keen to try and disperse music across the curriculum. For the less musically confident teachers however, I do recognise that help is needed.
Of course, you may have children with musical abilities in your class. This can cause a tricky situation. A child potentially knowing more than the teacher in any given subject can be detrimental, no matter which way you look at it. Ultimately, this makes it difficult for a teacher to provide anything that will stretch that child and ensure that they are progressing.
For these musically proficient pupils, the app can capture their physical playing through the microphone.
Apple can help. They have created amazing guides for teachers and pupils called the ‘Everyone Can Create’ series of Apple Books. One of the series of Apple Books (available for free on the Books app) is dedicated to music. It contains a huge range of lesson plans and ideas that solely utilise GarageBand. Step-by-step guides can take you through each aspect of embedding the app into lessons. The book even highlights how GarageBand can be planned into the wider curriculum. So, in answer to the question I posed at the start of this paragraph, the ‘Everyone Can Create Music’ guide is a great place to start.
Nick Acton is an Apple Curriculum Specialist at JTRS as well as being a part-time Computing and Music teacher. Through the creation of bespoke training, Nick specialises in empowering educators so that they can embed Apple Technology into their day-to-day classroom practice.