Pacific Grove High School (Pacific Grove, CA )

  • Instructor: David Hoffman
  • School Profile:  Public H.S., grades 9-12, enrollment 550 students
  • Class Title(s): Introduction to Music Technology
  • Grades Levels Included: 10-12
  • Structure of NTM Class(es):The class meets 4.5 hrs/week and is a year-long class. We only offer one level at this time. The class is limited to 15 students/year due to the size of the classroom and number of computer stations available.
  • Software Used: Garage Band, Logic, Reason, Pro Tools, Musition, Auralia, Sibelius, plug-ins for students. Lab uses Mac OS X 10.5 server and Apple Remote Desktop.
  • Hardware Used: Each student station is equipped with an iMac, MBox2 Pro interface, M-Audio Keystation 61es, and Audio Technica ATH-20 headphones in addition to the Yamaha LC-2 headphones for communication. The teacher station has a Mac Pro with two 23" monitors, one of which runs to the projector, the LC-2 hub, an MBox2Pro, Keystation 61es keyboard, and ATH-20 and Yamaha LC-2 headphones and a pair of Alesis M1 monitors. We have two Macbook Pro laptops, one with an MBox2Pro, and the other with Apogee Duet. We have a Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 mixer with JBL Eon 515 speakers for live sound, and use the StudioLive for recording along with a Presonus HP60 Headphone amp. We have a variety of microphones (Rode NT2, Rode NT4, EV RE-20, Shure 57, Shure 58, Beyerdynamic Opus Drum mics).

  • Class NTM Activities:  We use Garage Band to get started with loop-based compositions so students can concentrate on musical structure, expression and creativity without much musical knowledge. We typically set a poem to the loop-based background. I tie this in with the Big Read project in our literature classes. We then discuss the basics of mixing, including microphones, and DSPs, and learn to use Logic as an extension of Garage Band. We do an easy tracking project using Logic. We then study synthesis, sequencing and sound design using Reason. We also do a composition project within Reason. Students are limited in the amount of loops that can be used, so at this point they are adding original material. Throughout the class, students work in Musition and Auralia to develop some understanding of music theory. They also complete a series of exercises that teaches the basics in using Sibelius notation software. The second semester is primarily focused on using Pro Tools and some DSPs that we have available. We cover what is essentially the Pro Tools 101 and 110 curriculum. The final project is a recording project involving one of the many rock bands on campus. Students are in charge of the recording session, as well as mixing and production. In addition to what they track, they must add an additional element through software usually using ReWire.  Also during the first semester, we do a unit on live sound, and students work the sound board and record at various district events during the year.

  • History: The class was created when schedule conflicts had all but eliminated the jazz band. It was not possible for students to take band and jazz band for four years. We moved jazz to after school club status, and created the music technology class. Originally it was designed to be an ROP class (vocational ed), but our district has decided not to include it as a designated ROP class for budget reasons I do not fully understand. It is still listed as a vocational ed and music class.

  • Success Stores from NTM Activities: We are really just getting started. Our Garage Band projects have been well-received as they are cross-curricular in nature. Some students have created wonderful works in all phases of the class. I am hoping that this year, we will produce a CD from the final projects and highlight the artistry around campus.

  • Advice to Others Starting NTM Project: I am a big fan of the lab set-up I have. Students each have accounts on the server which allows me to limit what they have access to and monitor their activity. Using Apple Remote Desktop allows me to see all of their computer screens from my station, and also to take control of their computer to show them how to do something or to keep them on task. I can also project any students screen for the class to see. Using the Yamaha lab system, I can listen to the students work and can communicate with the one-on-one, in small groups, or as a class. My class was designed as a vocational ed class. It has been a LOT of work for me. I am a musician, not a techie, but I have grown into it somewhat. I would prefer the class to be more about music than it is about technology and we are moving in that direction. My advice to others would be to utilize your strength as a musician more than I have been able to do.

  • Additional Comments: As I mentioned, I am anxious to make this more of a music class than a tech class although technology will still be used throughout the class. I'd love to get more into performance and composition using technology and will be hoping to raise funds for instruments/devices that can be used for that purpose.
  • Date Submitted: August 2010
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