Electronic Music Added To OMS Music Program

Submitted Article

OSWEGO, NY – Electronic music is popular with the youth of today.

Oswego Middle School music teacher Paula McKenney-Myers has implemented an exciting and innovative program with a 10-week course in electronic music.

She noted, “This is a performance based class where student complete projects involving computers and electronic instruments. Not only do students learn musical elements such as pitch, tempo, dynamics, melody, chords and composition, but they also learn to function in a collaborative environment. Students groups have to learn to work together to achieve their goals and meet their performance deadline.”

A typical period commences with an activity entitled “listening logs” as students watch a music video displayed on a Smart Board from the “YouTube” website as they identify the attributes of a song.

Recently the eighth graders completed a performance project involving chords.

The teacher said, “They learned how to read from a lead sheet and to perform simple chords and melodies. Students chose an appropriate keyboard sound, rhythm and tempo for their performance. They started out with a Smart Board presentation in chords and I was able to show them the grading rubric while they made notes on their documents at their desks. Students then went to the keyboards to choose their song and practice playing the melody with chords.”

Eventually, all students were performing their song for the class.

The seventh graders are currently working on a composition project using two methods of song writing.

McKenney-Myers said, “One is a free form method and the other is called 12-tone. We started by showing a clip of Arnold Schoenburg’s 12 tone compositional method. The students were able to use the Smart Board to look at the project parameters. Some students are recording composition using ProTools which is a multi-track recording software for music.”

Oswego Middle School students are getting to use their musical skills in the projects.

In watching the performers on YouTube they have the opportunity to see the real world applications for their efforts in class.

McKenney-Myers noted, “Even though this is a music class the students are also learning skills that will apply to other curricular areas they experience.”