1:1 Macbook Program Brings the Middle School Piano Lab to Life
1:1 Macbook Program Brings the Middle School Piano Lab to Life

by Shirley Blake, Director of Communications

The 1:1 Macbook program has gotten off to a great start in the 7th Grade. One of the unexpected benefits has been evidenced in the music room where students plug into the "Piano Lab" and make music like never before in Jonah Blumstein and Gregg Barnes' music classes.

"The Piano Lab has been a revolutionary development in our ability to teach students music theory in a fun and engaging way," said Blumstein. For the first time, they are able to get all of the students in their classes connected on Korg piano keyboards and headphones working in the program Garageband on their Macbooks. All of the musicians, including drummers and guitar players, are learning basic harmonic theory and creating original music in class and at home, and then come back to the Lab to jam together on their instruments.

"Gregg and I were blown away by how engaged all of our classes have been with the Piano Lab. Students are coming in at Break and Contact Time and to work on original pieces and share them with friends," said Blumstein.

Working with headphones on certainly changes the dynamic of the room. Blumstein and Barnes experience far less chaos from a room full of musicians all trying to learn their individual parts all at once, and find that student musicians can really focus on individual learning before they collaborate as a group or a band. Musicians can collaborate together on learning parts through the computers, in small groups, and as a class, all while the teachers monitor their work through Garageband. They also post music to learn in their students' Schoology accounts to practice at home and then they are better prepared to jam in class.

The Piano Lab would not be possible without the 1:1 Macbook program coming online this year. Plus a new connection to Korg has unleashed many possibilities for expanding the program in the future, as we all look ahead to the new Middle School Building. As technology progresses and the Macbook program expands, Blumstein and Barnes see a very bright future ahead for their young musicians.

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