Imagine Middle School West (Weston, FL)

  • Instructor: Cesar Taveras
  • Class Title(s): Music Production and Performance
  • Grades Levels Included: 6 - 8
  • School Profile:  Charter School
  • Structure of NTM Class(es): A typical class will be mostly made up of 6th grade students who meet daily for 50 minutes. Those students attend the program for 9 weeks. After that a new group of students begin the class. 

  • Software Used: Ableton Live
  • Hardware Used: Ableton Push and Lenovo PCs (School is part of the Ableton Push Initiative Program)

  • Class NTM Activities:  For the first couple of weeks I give the students an introduction to Ableton Live and Push. I give them small projects so they can familarize themselves with the software and hardware. As the class goes on they begin to learn more about the potential of what they can do. The projects become more complex digging deeper into the hardware and software. The class ends with live performances on the Push controllers in front of their peers.

  • History: A few years ago we were given a grant from the state of Florida to design a middle school program. Every department received startup funding for their program. A typical middle school in Broward County would normally have a traditional band program. However, due to limited resources this would not be possible at our location. I brainstormed some ideas with my principal and decided to create a music production class. We started the program running Mixcraft 6 on HP computers. Administration and students found the program to be very interesting and uniquely beneficial to the students. It was also one of the very few middle schools doing this type of music education. As the program went on I came in contact with a brand manager at Ableton and was very fortunate to become part of the Ableton Push Initiative program. We now have a lab of 22 Ableton Push controllers along with Ableton Live running on our computers. The program has been very successful with students' interest and we are looking forward to seeing what the follow year will bring.

  • Success Stories from NTM Activities: One of the most exciting stories I have is about an 8th grade student who was so passionate about the program. Unfortunately, we are only able to offer one section of the class for 6th grade students. He was adamant about taking the class in 8th grade that he wrote a letter to the principal about the importance of a class like this and how it connects with STEM education. We were not able to open a new class but he took my class as an independent study student for his last year in middle school. I was very proud of him and I was glad to see him pursue his goal.

  • Advice to Others Starting NTM Project:  I think a class like this has so many potentials for the classroom. My program is only one idea that can be done. There is so much technology that if you brainstorm enough you will be able to design a program that bests suits your skills and the population of students in your region. Also, there are many resources online that are available to you. Find what works best for you and your school and just do it!

  • Additional Comments: It's an exciting time to be a music technology educator. There is so much research out there and this is just the beginning. I look forward to becoming a bigger proponent in the world of music education and technology.

  • Date Submitted: August 2017
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