Westlane Middle School (Indianapolis IN)

  • Instructor: Barb Keyes
  • Class Title(s): Music Tech 1 & 2
  • Grades Levels Included: 7 & 8
  • School Profile:  Public middle school grades 6-8; enrollment 900 students
  • Structure of NTM Class(es): One semester class, 24-27 students, 7th & 8th grade. 
  • Software Used: Music Ace, Garageband, Band in a Box, iMovie, iTunes, Internet, iPhoto
  • Hardware Used: iMac, Korg keyboards, Korg audio system, with a few eMedia keyboards.

  • Class NTM Activities:  Bell work of Music Ace Students: Create their own theme song, eventually putting it to pictures/movies of themselves. Create family/friend theme songs. Turn themselves into superheroes creating theme songs, stories & visuals. Create Blues songs. Discover favorite blues & jazz artists & have to share with the class why & present their music. As I said, it is still evolving from here.  Started out as 9 weeks, now a semester. A great challenge to have - I love it.

  • History: Students can only tolerate general music and learning instrument families for so long and then they rebel.  This is the premise I met when coming into Middle School General music for the first time in 1990.  I found it extremely boring and frustrating.  I tried things like the history of Rock & Roll, using Orff instruments to create music, teaching alto recorder, teaching ukulele.  All of these made a positive change to my class, but still there were those uninspired students, who I knew were creative & talented, but this bored them.  Doug Babb is the first person who introduced music technology to me for use in the classroom in the 80's.  Talking to Doug about it, I wrote grants, found different sources that would bring in computers and synthesizers for student use.  This was the key.  I saw a change in attitude in my class.  Discipline problems were fewer and fewer. This evolved and now I have 27 iMac computers with Korg keyboards and various amounts of software.  We are still evolving, but I love teaching this class.

  • Success Stories from NTM Activities: One of my students wrote poetry, put it as a rap and created his own album as his special independent project in Music Tech.  He is now well known around the rap scene in Indy. 

  • Advice to Others Starting NTM Project:  I hate the phrase "think outside of the box," but truly, let your imagination run wild. Listen to the students. I heard things and it will jolt something in my brain & becomes a brand new project.  CREATIVITY!  Don't follow rules.

  • Additional Comments: Trust yourself even when no one else gets it, but the kids!
  • Date Submitted: July 2010
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