An Experimental Multi-media Teaching Unit For Seventh Grade General Music Classes
Jirovec, Lenore E.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Fine Arts and Communication
MetadataShow full item record
Socially, students of today are inundated with electronic music. According to Mary Marsh, authority on electronic curriculum: Much of music we hear today is electronic. Electronic sounds are used in rock as well as in other kinds of popular and commercial music. Electronic sounds are heard in operas and in symphony concerts. Background music for films and television programs often contains electronic sounds. Creatively, the modern youth synthesizes his own creative urge with the paraphernalia of today's technological environment. In Electronic Music: A Listener's Guide the author, Elliott Schwartz, quotes composer Edwin London concerning the recent availability and proliferation of the electronic medium, including such equipment in home and school as tape recorders and movie projectors, which provides: ... everyone the potential of becoming active creators, if not great ones. Most people, particularly young ones, like to fool around generally, and it's from this play with the new media, especially those having little continuity with or derivations from past "musical” materials, which is producing a fresh approach. This new technological approach to society places students in a challenging environment to perceive and react to music in meaningful modes. Concerning electronic music composition in the junior high school, Julia R. Masterman of the Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School in Philadelphia has noted: Music educators can no longer ignore the possibilities afforded by computers and the related fields of science and mathematics. Abundant evidence exists that our sophisticated space-age children are ready to explore these possibilities and to deal with them in creative ways. For some junior high school students the videocassette medium and the electronic music synthesizer are readily acceptable means of getting their attention onto matters of general music in the classroom. Charles Leonhard and Robert House have noted this relevancy, that " ... school music must affect out-of-school activities.” Therein lies the challenge to our music education today. The question they ask music educators is " ... does the school enable the individual to participate fully in the musical life of his time?” In exploring these technological possibilities, however, the need to bridge a cultural gap, comprised of students and music educators who are yet unfamiliar and reticent in using modern technology, is apparent. Time magazine points out the problem in a recent article: ... microchips, satellites, and nuclear power have become realities that define everyday life; yet many supposedly well-educated people do not understand how they work. Despite the growing use of computers in classrooms, American universities are still graduating millions of technological illiterates. The view expressed in this article is appropriate also to the musical concern of today's music educator. Likewise, as some leading colleges are starting programs "to acquaint students with modern technology,” so also are a number of graduate music schools in America attending to this concern in their curriculum focus. The present paper addresses the problem of how to handle the challenges of today's creative technology and the teaching of general music students in an experimental unit described below.