Music Creativity Through Technology

Music Creativity Through Technology is dedicated to music educators working with the "Other 80%" of students in our schools who do not participate in the traditional performing ensembles and music classes. With the latest tools in music technology, these educators are finding ways to unleash the creative potential of many of these students.

The release of GarageBand in 2004 and Ableton Live around the same time was as significant for music education as the release of the first Macintosh computers in 1984 with Professional Composer notation software along with personal laser printers and Postscript printing of music notation.  The combined events helped to democratize a music process previously reserved for the professional:  the former, music publishing, the most recent, music composition.  GarageBand, Live, and similar music technology tools empowered anyone, young and old, to create music using their ear as their guide, by shaping their expression through easy manipulation of high quality loops, audio snippets, sounds samples, along with adding the creative potential through live recording with USB keyboards, mics, guitars, and other devices.

The impact that GarageBand had can be seen in the overnight emergence of virtual composers sharing their GarageBand creations on the web and reaching out for comment and guidance.  As music educators, we found this especially exciting as it renewed our interest in finding ways to reach those students in our schools that drop out of the traditional music programs as they progress up through the grades, the traditional programs where emphasis is place on traditional performing ensembles and performance expertise of selected repertoire (see D.B. Williams, 2012).  Through lectures, presentations and keynotes, and the work of his graduate students, Dr. Williams began to focus on what he termed the "non-traditional music student (NTMs)," the other 80 percent of students in our school programs that are disenfranchised from music education in one way or another.  Time and time again, we have been approached by music teachers wanting to share their success stories reaching out to these students in innovative ways.  Hence the genesis of the NTM website.

Dr. Dammers of Rowan University has taken a keen interest as well in this population and kindly agreed to collaborate in creating this website as a repository for gathering research, publications, and more importantly, profiles of teachers who are using music technology in creative ways to reach out to non-traditional music students (NTMs) and to the design and support of technology-based music classes (TBMC).   

In 2012 through the support of a NAMM Foundation grant we were able to begin an annual program to gather music education students, undergraduate and graduate, for a competitive Music Technology Leadership Academy to explore teaching strategies and state-of-the-art software and hardware to reach the NTM students in our schools.  Dr. V.J. Manzo joined us for the first few MTLA cohorts MTLA and we soon welcomed Dr. William Bauer to the team of instructors. We've also benefited from guest presenters such as Drs. Barbara Freedman, James Frankel, Wil Kuhn, and Marjorie LoPresti, among others.  In 2023 the 12th MTLA program was offered in conjunction with the TMEA/TI:ME conference in San Antonio.  Further details of the program may be found on the MTLA page of this website.

We welcome additions to either the Research or Articles and Presentations page and strongly encourage submission to our Submit NTM Profiles.

David Brian Williams
Emeritus Professor of Music and Creative Technologies
Illinois State University

Rick Dammers, PhD
Dean, College of Performing Arts
Professor of Music Education 
Rowan University 

All original materials on this site are  Copyright © David Brian Williams & Richard Dammers. All rights reserved.
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