Berwick Academy (South Berwick, ME)

  • Instructor: Stephanie Sanders
  • Location: South Berwick, ME
  • School Profile: PK-12 Independent Day School;  600+/- total student enrollment
  • Class Title(s): Electronic Music I-V as well as Ukulele Ensemble, World Musics, Guitar, African Music
  • Grades Levels Included: 9-12 plus post graduate
  • Structure of NTM Class(es):  Electronic Music I-V: meets 4 days per week, three 45 min. and one 80 min. class, grades 9-PG.  Enrollment limited to 11 students due to number of workstations. Trimester course offered all three terms, class is fully enrolled with wait list, levels meet concurrently.

  • Software Used: DAW: GarageBand, LogicProX, iMovie, Photoshop (Ableton, Mixcraft - a few students use these to complete projects at home on their personal computers)
  • Hardware Used: iMacs, Blue Snowflake microphones, Zoom H4N digital recorders, student smartphones, Yamaha WX5 wind controllers, Korg Wavedrum, Korg MicroKorg Vocoder, Korg Kaossilators

  • Class NTM Activities:  For Electronic Music I-V, each level focuses on different and more in-depth exploration of composition, production and recording. All students are given instruction on each topic/project, and after the initial introduction/instruction it is a student driven/motivated course. Each student works within their passion/focus in taking the course.

    Level I students work on 4-5 common projects and all levels choose 3-7 projects from a list of approximately 45 projects ranging from basic to advanced. Each project is assigned a difficulty level and some projects may count as more than one project for completion. Projects range from basic composition to finding their way around the DAW, to making ringtones, composing towards and image, composing for film/animation (including making scary movies into happy movies), composing using only ambient sounds they recorded, composing using a single ambient sound (at Halloween I like to use a "pumpkin" as the sound that they can hit, smash, slice, cook, etc.), recording multitrack videos and audio, EP albums of their own compositions, remixes of produced music/videos (i.e. Julia Child remix), using a famous speech and mixing it into a composition or using it as the rhythm of the composition. The list is endless. All are based on the experience and passion of the individual student and each level of the course has different elements to include.

  • Data: 11% of the grades 9-12 students are in music tech classes per year (with a limit of 11 students per term - class is offered only one period per day). Current HS population is 302, with each trimester having 11 (maximum enrollment) students enrolled. There is a waiting list.

  • Success stories: Many students have chosen to do an Innovation Pursuit as part of our Innovation Center, involving some extraction from this course (outside of the school day study of a passion beyond the classroom). These IP students, for example, have created original compositions using DAW and recording world instruments, asked permission from Dreamworks studio to rewrite the score of a favorite childhood animated movie, created an Anime movie using DAW and the vocoder and her own drawings, a webcomic with his own music, story and drawings, EP original EDM, built synthesizers from scratch and several more. In the seven short years we have offered this class I have had 4 students who have gone on to obtain various degrees in music production, and two are currently working in music production and sound design in LA. I have three current students who plan to study music production and/or film/TV score writing in college and make it a career choice.

  • Advice to Others Starting NTM Project: Don't be afraid of doing it! Don't worry about the kids knowing more than you, they love to help, open yourself up to that, it is a great moment! There are plenty of PLN's and/or groups on social media that are general or specifically geared to your class/course, join those, they are a big help. If you are doing music technology classes, the group of music tech teachers are the most giving group of educators I am associated with. There are several professional organizations that can help you.


  • Additional Comments: If all NTM courses are included in the 80%, I have 26% of the HS student enrollment taking 3 courses (this does not include African Music which has about 20 students over 2 trimesters, and ukulele and world music are only offered 2 trimesters). Students are allowed to take only 6 courses a trimester, and most of the other 5 courses are yearlong classes. Students are encouraged to double up on math, science or language as their 6th course.


  • Date Submitted: August 2017
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