McDonogh School (Owings Mills, MD)

  • Instructor:  Donald New
  • Location: Owings Mills, MD
  • School Profile: Private K-12
  • Class Title(s): Music Technology
  • Grades Levels Included: 9-12
  • Structure of NTM Class(es): Three (3) classes meet full school year, 5 times out of a 6 day rotation.  Class limited to 14 students:  2 entrance level classes and 1 advanced class.  One year satisfies school's art requirement.
  • Software Used: 14 Windows based work stations equipped with Mixcraft, Reason, and Pro Tools and a plethora of other freeware.  The students have access to a large variety of other software including Finale, Band in a Box, Recycle, and more. 
  • Hardware Used: Large variety of hardware including old analog equipment, (the Theremin is probably the most enjoyed), a huge variety of synths, samplers and contemporary digital equipment, DJ tools and control surfaces. Variety of mics to cover instruction in the many types of mics and their suggested usage. Digi 002,003, 14 Mbox 2s,  Variety of digital keyboards, Roland midi guitar/module, WX7, WX5, Akai EWI, Casio Digital Horn,  outboard digital and analog effect boxes etc.
  • Class NTM Activities:  The course starts with materials from the original Fundamentals of Music Technology by Dennis Mauricio and introduces the students to the history of electronic music.  After that we move into the software and cover many aspects of traditional music theory using software sequencers to see and hear how music is put together. An exploration of the physics of sound.  Other activities include exploring song form (Reason is great for this),  ambient video underscore, sound effects editing and Foley, recording skills and multi-tracking, emotional manipulation through music applied to video, loop-based projects, qualitative listening assignments and many others. Time is also dedicated to class listening and discussion.  Teams are set up to learn the art of and work on "productions".
  • History: McDonogh Music Tech class of 4 or 5 students started in the band room office in 2001 with a few scavenged computers , including my own Atari 1040ste.   The class moved from the band room office, to a corner of the band room the next year and then to a different part of campus where I now hold class in a dedicated space for Music Tech. (Still no sound booth or recording studio though) 
  • Success Stories from NTM Activities: Students with minimal music background that were able to find their niche using music and audio technology and have gone out into the world producing, composing and performing at the top of their field. On a more intimate level success is when an NTM student talks about the sound track of a movie or uses words like major and minor appropriately. Success is when a student with no music background produces a song (not using loops!) that receives praise from their classmates. To learn how to make music from scratch that is subjectively "good" and accepted is the door opening success for the NTM student. 
  • Advice to Others Starting NTM Project: Don't get caught up in teaching music and music theory the way we learned it in college--the NTM is a huge sponge for understanding music their way.  I wonder how Beethoven would describe a bass drop?
  • Additional Comments: Teaching music technology has allowed me to reach students I never would have been able to reach otherwise and share my joy and passion for music in a way that is relevant to them.  It has been my desire to acquire a lab full of a large variety of instruments and tools to open up the world of music through exploration.  It is my goal to ignite the student's curiosity, put the joy of discovery in front them guide them in the right direction and then step out of the way and let the eureka be totally theirs.
  • Date Submitted: December 2012
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