A Secondary level Music Technology Class Part 2 (Equipment, Expenditures, & Rationale

This is Part 2 of a continuing series that is documenting my process of creating a secondary-level Music Technology Class featuring the iPad.  Your thoughts and comments are welcome…please send them to the e-mail address on the right side of this page.

From Part 1: A Working Course Description

A music technology course would allow music staff to reach the musical needs of the 80% of the student body that does not participate in traditional band, choir, and orchestra offerings. Utilizing the iPad, GarageBand, and other specific apps, students will learn skills in basic theory (through basic chord progressions), and to utilize digital instruments, loops, and samples to create finalized recording projects. Students will be required to compose and create music for video footage (exporting to iMovie), as well as to evaluate their final works.

Necessary Equipment (Hardware): $23,603

Bretford PowerSync Cart (Holds & Charges 30 iPads): – $2600

Rationale: Storage and charging of iPads in a system that iPad use can be tracked by student (numbered)

New 32GB Black iPad With AppleCare + (3 Sets of 10 @ $6580) – $19,740

Rationale: Some music apps are very large (e.g. Notion for iPad is in excess of 1GB, some iBook textbooks are over 2GB.  32GB allows for ample space on the devices for audio and visual student work.

Single 64GB Black iPad With AppleCare + (for instructor) – $798

The instructor may need to keep many files–including completed student files–on their iPad.  The 64GB iPad gives the instructor the greatest amount of flexibility.

Monoprice iPad Cases – 31 @  $15 – $465

**Students can (and will) bring/use their own headphones

OPTIONAL: ($4788 or $1388)

Apple TV – $99

If you wish to wirelessly project from the iPad to an external source, you need an Apple TV.

HDMI Cable from Monoprice.com – $10

Connects the Apple TV to a Video Source

Apple Airport Extreme Base Station – $179

Only required If your school/room does not have wi-fi and/or Enterprise wireless

80″ Sharp LCD TV – $4500

An amazing solution for a very large LCD screen that would provide a very bright image in any light; at $4500 the TV is on par financially with the brightest professional projectors, and still less than many IWBs.  An LCD TV should get at least 100,000 hours of use.

or Espon 1775W Projector (w/ HDMI) – $1100

One example of a HDMI LCD projector solution.  The bulb will eventually burn out at 2000-3000 hours.

Software (40 copies allowing for future growth):
Total Voucher for Educational Apps: $1500

  • Pages: 40 copies @ 4.99 – $199.60
  • Keynote: 40 copies @ 4.99 – $199.60
  • GarageBand 40 copies @ $2.49 – $99.60
  • iMovie: 40 copies @ $2.49 – $99.60
  • Noteshelf: 40 copies @ $2.99 – $119.60
  • forScore or unrealBook: 40 copies @ $2.49 – $99.60
  • Notion: 40 copies @ $7.49 – $299.60
  • Theory Lessons: 40 copies @ $0.99 – $39.60
  • Tenuto: 40 copies @ $1.99 – $79.60
  • PaperHelper: 40 copies @ $0.99 – $79.60
  • Musictionary: 40 copies @ 0.49 – 19.60
Note: no textbook is required/requested; a textbook for the class could be made using YouTube videos (see http://www.classwidgets.com) and other materials by the teacher.

Total Project Proposal: $29,891 or $30,000

A traditional MIDI lab or music technology lab could not provide a lab of 30 computers for $30,000–not to mention the additional costs of software, desks, chairs, projectors, MIDI keyboards, speakers, microphones, headphones, and so on.  A music technology course I just visited was started with a grant of $140,000.  Over four music technology programs could be started using iPads for that same amount of funding.

Why iPads?  

Although the iPad is not a full desktop replacement, the device has great potential for education and music education.  Combined with its form factor (size and portability), battery life, features (instant-on and audio-video recording), and flexibility (limited only by the apps available for the device), the iPad can be used as the complete tool for a music technology course.  GarageBand for the iPad allows for the live recording of music, either with “played” instruments or with “smart” instruments.  GarageBand can also be used with external MIDI instruments (not included in this proposal) and to sample new sounds.  It can even be linked with three other iPads for a “jam session.”  Apple, Inc. is touting GarageBand for iPad as a way to make music without knowing anything about music–what better tool to use for music education?  Other apps, such as Notion, allow for the actual composition of music using music notation.

In addition to the appeal of the iPad itself, the iPad-based Music Technology course is also appealing because of its great flexibility.  You can create a MIDI lab in any space, without any other necessary components (monitors, speakers, MIDI keyboards, computer keyboards, speakers, etc.).  You can teach REAL music, study REAL music, and make REAL music.  And the apps requested in this proposal also allow for the use of the iPad in other ways (writing papers, giving presentations, or even in other music courses).

The iPad does work best in 1-to-1 situations, but can be adapted for lab sets (such as this proposal).  Students COULD have the opportunity to check out an iPad overnight or over weekends, but school policies would have to determine the process, and there could only be one class “needing” the iPads at a single time.

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