East Brunswick High School (East Brunswick NJ)

  • Instructor: Marjorie LoPresti
  • Class Title(s): Beginning Piano, Piano Workshop, Musicianship Music, Technology and Composition, Advanced Music Studio
  • Grades Levels Included: 9-12
  • Structure of NTM Class(es)Beginning Piano - 1 semester  - grades 10-12 heterogeneous - also offered to gr. 6&7 in Middle School and gr. 8&9 at Jr. High - class is capped at 20.  
    Piano Workshop - 1 semester  - grades 10-12 heterogeneous - class is capped at 20  Musicianship -1 semester - grades 10-12 heterogeneous - 16 seat music/mac lab, class is capped at 20.
    Music Technology & Composition  -1 quarter - grades 10-12 heterogeneous - 16 seat music/mac lab  
    Advanced Music Studio -1 quarter - grades 10-12 heterogeneous - 16 seat music/mac lab

  • History: This lab was installed in 2002. It was used primarily for Beginning Piano class for the first 2 years. About 5 years ago, we had some help from a music tech colleague in a neighboring district - help brainstorming & structuring our course offerings. During the past 5 years, the Musicianship class has grown to include more CAI and digital music. MT&C has been in existence for 6 years and changes gradually based on new software to provide overview. AMS has existed for 4 years as is different each year - offered only during 4th quarter - and reflects the interests and needs of the students. Piano Workshop is a new addition during the past year.

  • Software Used: Sibelius, GarageBand, Band in a Box, Audacity, Alfred Essentials of Music Theory, Practica Musica, web-based applications. will be adding ProTools this year.

  • Hardware Used: iMac computers, Korg Triton Le Keyboards, additional 88-weighted-key electric pianos,M-Audio Moble-Pre interfaces (SoundTree lab), projector & scanner on teacher station, 2 each: electric guitars & basses, 2 Sonuus interfaces 1 Yamaha DD-55 drum pad, student supplied instruments, various microphones & stands.

  • Class NTM Activities: Piano Workshop - Students review basics from beginning piano, and progress at individual pace through music challenging solo repertoire, mastering music in new keys (including minor). Focus on collaboration -  students perform duets and write/arrange duets. Expanded use of Sibelius and GarageBand for composition and self-assessment. Students often post recordings of their performances & compositions to the password-protected wiki.
    Musicianship-Music theory, ear training and introductory music composition targeted toward all students interested in music. Draws a diverse student population. -Instruction and individual practice activities use web-based CAI and Alfred Essentials software, assignments and projects completed using Sibelius and Garageband. Collaboration and peer critique using password-protected wiki.
    Music Technology & Composition- intro to sequencing, loop-based projects, basic composition, Sibelius software notation and audio editing. Projects include covers and original works.
    Advanced Music Studio-Focus is on composition and recording for live musicians. Instruction and practice writing melodies for given harmony, harmonizing given melodies, 2- and 3-voice original compositions, instrumental and vocal ranges & capabilities. Extensive hands-on with microphones. Students compose a piece specifically for peers outside of class, rehearse with them, then record performance & master the recording.

  • Success Stories from NTM Activities
    • Self-described "non-musician" music-loving students are successful in these classes - this is the 80% the performance program misses.
    • Students who grew to loathe practicing their instruments (piano, guitar) rediscovered their love of music and their instruments in more creative environment.
    • Several students planning to pursue music composition and audio engineering in college. Several students placed in summer music programs/internships. Students FREQUENTLY report being surprised by their ability to perform & create music.
    • Students who were not part of performance program (chorus, band, orchestra) drawn into those performing ensembles.
    • Student composition performed by school orchestra and submitted to compositions competitions.
    • Students take music projects created in class into video production projects.
    • Parents & community members give high praise to being "in touch" with students' musical interests and needs (and express envy at the opportunity the kids receive).

  • Advice to Others Starting NTM Project
    • Go for it! Find a colleague to help you get started by connecting with TI:ME. Any music course with a tech angle that your school can provide outside of traditional performance will draw in the students that your program currently isn't serving.
    • Don't be discouraged by glitches - ask for help and advice, even from your students.
    • Ask for help & support from parents, colleagues in other departments, community members and your local tech services department. Once they hear what you envision, they will catch your excitement and help where they can.
    • Welcome every student who comes to your class - some of the most creative, intense kids can appear disaffected. They will flourish if you give them a clear structure, expectations, and then freedom to create.

  • Additional Comments: Thanks for starting this space. I'm completely mystified why EVERY music department isn't finding ways to engage kids who are obviously musically motivated. 
  • Date Submitted: October 2009
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