Mira Costa High School (Manhattan Beach, CA)

  • Instructor: Mark McCormick
  • Location: Manhattan Beach, CA
  • School Profile: 9-12 Public High School approx. 2300 students 
  • Class Title(s): Music Theory
  • Grades Levels Included: 9-12
  • Structure of NTM Class(es): Music theory is a year long class which I've adapted to include basic piano skills and an introduction to composing using Logic Pro. The class has students with no formal music training as well as students that have had up to four years in performance ensembles. Students with extensive performance experience are encouraged to take AP music theory which is taught by a different instructor and does not regularly use the technology lab (still in its beginning stages), however many students elect to continue with the class because of the technology and composition component. Music theory is a very diverse class with many different levels of ability and interests.

    With only five stations and thirty students, I divide my class into a lecture/lab situation. Fifteen students work in trios at each of the five stations on group composition assignments while the rest of the students work on academic/traditional classroom music theory assignments & work.  In the future, as  the technology center expands, I would like to offer classes in group piano and composition/music production.

  • Software Used: Garageband, Logic Pro, Safari 
  • Hardware Used: iMacs, M Audio Keystation 61es keyboards,  PreSonus Audio Boxes, Powered audio splitters, headphones
  • Class NTM Activities:  Aside from the traditional music theory curriculum, students use the technology to practice beginning piano skills and work on projects that support their learning of theory. Additional projects are related to film scoring, songwriting, canon and other musical forms as well as various individual projects.
  • History: A partnership between the Southern California Regional Occupational Center, the Manhattan Beach Schools and private funding brought about the beginning of the music technology center. We currently have five stations and an additional portable instructor station. Since I teach music theory, I've integrated the use of the lab into the class. 
  • Success Stores with NTM Students: We are fortunate to live close to Los Angeles with many recording artists and composers nearby. I've had several very accomplished artists visit our school, work with our students and share their passion for the craft. I'm just beginning to see the benefits of the music technology center on students' lives. Many former students are moving forward after graduation into areas which use the music technology that they're been introduced to in class. 
  • Additional Comments: My goal is to establish a music technology program that will allow for a spiral curriculum in music composition and student/peer mentoring. Right now, I'm limited with facilities and resources but am excited about the vision and interest from the students and community.
  • Date Submitted:  May 2011
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