Wahconah Regional High School (Dalton, Ma)

  • Instructor: Brian Rabuse
  • Location: Dalton, MA
  • School Profile: Public; HS; Gr9-12; 512 Enrolled
  • Class Title(s): Music Production, iPad Music, Music Technology Management
  • Grades Levels Included: 9-12
  • Structure of NTM Class(es): Classes are offered each semester (Sept-Jan/ Jan-Jun), Current Music lab size accommodates 8 students grades 9-12.

  • Software Used: FL Studio 12, Ableton Live 9 Intro. IOS Software: GarageBand, FL Studio Mobile, AudioBus, Magellan, Morphwiz, Figure.
  • Hardware Used: Novation LaunchKey 25, Ableton Push 1, Tascam US-200,  Samson us-1 microphones, Windows computers.

  • Class NTM Activities:  I have a flipped classroom. The homework is to each a video lesson and take notes. The classwork is to complete a project using the software.

    I use three methods of assessment. A quiz embedded into tan instructional video, a project posted to SoundCloud, or a "show me" assessment which is kind of like a pop quiz. I go to each students workstation and ask them a "show me" question for points. or example; I'll ask a studio to show me the keyboard shortcut for device view in Ableton Live 9. If they can do it, they get the credit. It's a lot easier than a written exam, and can demonstrate mastery efficiently.

  • HistoryMusic Technology was a course on my schedule when I was hired to teach. The previous teacher used notation software and Fruity Loops to teach his own curriculum (which was not shared when I was hired, and the administration allowed me to  do whatever I wanted.

    I upgraded Fruity Loops and began a blog with step by step instructions for students on how to create simple projects using the software. I realized pretty quickly that my students didn't like reading all of my step by step instructions, but responded well when I showed them my tricks. Since I had no projector, and my students were a mixed range of 9-12 and ability levels ranging from learning disabled to prodigy students who had been studying piano since age 4, I needed the curriculum to be self paced, and easily modified. 
    Screencasting was the answer. The videos were easy to follow and each had an assessment component built in. I required students to either take a quiz, or post a project to SoundCloud adhering to certain parameters I had outlined in a rubric. I made all of my lessons available via a Weebly account using Camtasia. I stayed with FL Studio up until version 11. 

    In 2012 I wrote a grant for 25 iPads, cases and a companion budget for music apps. I received the funding and rewrote the curriculum to center around FL Studio Mobile, Garageband, Morphwiz, Figure, Magelan and AudioBus. I updated the video lessons and ran iPad 2s for 4 years. The iPads became outdated and obsolete. They were slow relative to the new computers in the lab.

    I received an Ableton Push initiative grant in 2016 to outfit my lab with Live 9 Intro and a Push 1 for each workstation. Since then, I've been using Live, Push and Novation LaunchKey keyboards ever since. Enrollment is up, and I'm looking forward to the next school year. 

    Bonus- My school has taken note of my use of Camtasia and screen casting. They are looking to include a new course on video production and are including me in the mix of teachers involved.

  • Success Stories from NTM Activities:  I've had many students come through the music tech lab simply looking for credits to graduate High School  turn the experience into a career in the audio industry. 
  • Advice to Others Starting NTM Project: Stay current. Always upgrade, and learn the new features.

  • Data: A small percentage of students are enrolled in arts classes. 5% or less.
  • Additional Comments: Class website: http://www.wahconahmusictech.com.  The Ableton lessons are the most current.
  • Date Submitted: August 2017
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