Full Review: CME XKey Air and CME WIDI BUD


This is a long review, and I apologize for the length, but I am very fond of these items and they deserve some coverage.  If you want to read a very quick summary, check out my last post. I also had to publish an incomplete draft in order to add in-document links, so if you received e-mail notification about the post and it was incomplete, I apologize.

I love technology, and I love teaching others about technology in relation to what they are doing in their classrooms. I have a special affinity for technology that “changes the game” and makes technology easier to use or easier to incorporate into our lives. As a music teacher and a musician–there are few occurrences where I am bursting with excitement about a product. This is one of those situations.

This review is going to look at a CME’s XKey Air and the CME WIDI BUD. You can click on either of those last two links to skip to the section about that product, and there is a (20 minute) video at the end of the review.

If you want to buy these devices, visit the CME Website.  Whie the WIDI BUD website is “live,” at the moment, the only place to buy the WIDI BUD is B&H (This will change over time).  Special thanks to CME and Virgin Musical Instruments for making these products available for this review and for the sessions that I will be presenting in the 2016-2017 academic year.

CME XKey Air (25 Key Model $199, 37 Key Model $299)

CME XKey Air 25

The XKey first came to my attention in late 2014, as a representative from CME (or more specifically, their distributor in the United States) contacted me about the product and their coming attendance at TMEA. While the company has been around since 1993, the current CME was formed in 2012. After reading some reviews on the Internet, I can’t tell when the original XKey came out (my best guess is 2014) as a high quality portable MIDI keyboard. The features of that keyboard included high quality materials, full sized keys, function buttons (instead of wheels), velocity-sensitive keys, and low-travel keys. While the keyboard can be used for performance, the target was portable studio and notation work–something it is perfect for.

I remember stopping by CME’s booth at TMEA, seeing the XKey for the first time, and showing them the Miselu C.24 keyboard. I asked them to consider BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) MIDI with their keyboard. At the time, my C. 24 was one of the few of those devices “in the wild” as they sent it to me early so that I could show it at various music education conferences. Just a word about the C.24–I lost mine in Nashville at NAfME. The C.24 was an exciting device as it was the first BLE MIDI device on the market. It promised to be a device that could be used as an iPad cover, and featured the ability to “flip” the device into form to make a playable keyboard that worked with magnets (not springs). You could combine multiple units to make a longer keyboard. The keys were scaled on an old model of a “woman’s” piano (apparently, piano keys used to be a relative item, based on the desires of the purchaser versus an industry standard). The C. 24 works, and is still available from Miselu at a (now lower) cost of $149. I do worry about the durability of the C. 24 (all the moving parts to flip open the device) and the future of the company (it still hasn’t released a promised control module to backers)–plus the function of the case changed when Apple changed the design of the iPad and the C.24 could no longer be used as an iPad case. This means that the market is still open to a high quality BLE MIDI portable keyboard, and the XKey Air fits the bill.

The CME is engraved in the final key. I wouldn’t mind if the Bluetooth sitcker were actually a permanent item on the keyboard (it is a sticker)

In addition to my feedback, CME heard that same feedback (“Please add BLE MIDI”) from a number of users, and ran a Indegogo Campaign to provide the capital to start that product. That project was funded by August 2015, and started shipping this spring.

In form, the XKey Air and the original XKey are identical. In fact, the only difference would be a Bluetooth sticker on the XKey Air, as well as multiple LED indicators and a power button on the Air. In my video review, I talk about the packaging of the XKey Air, which may seem irrelevant. After all, why does the packaging matter? I don’t know why, but it does. Part of the joy of buying an Apple product is the unboxing experience, which was carefully designed for the user. The XKey Air comes packaged in the same thoughtful way as an Apple device, and would fit perfectly on the shelves of an Apple Store. There are a couple of instruction sheets in the box, as well as a labeled micro USB cable. If you have other micro USB cables in your house, you can use them with the XKey Air–but I like having cables labeled so you know what device they came came with.

The finish of the XKey Air fits perfectly with aluminum computers like the MacBook or even my Asus Chromebook Flip

As for the keyboard, it is a joy to use. It pairs effortlessly with BLE MIDI on the iPad. As with most BLE MIDI devices, it is instantly detected by the iPad and connects with a single touch. While the keys do not have the tradition “travel” of a piano keyboard, they are pressure sensitive and every button works as it should. Some reviews of the original XKey longed for a way to attach a sustain pedal to the keyboard (instead of pressing a key on the XKey Air), but this is a portable keyboard–attaching cables and secondary pedals defeats the portable purpose of the keyboard. The low-travel keys should make the keyboard more resilient to throwing it into a backpack and running along. I had issues with other previous portable USB keyboards that I have used over the years (One example was an M-Audio 25 key unit that did not stand up to portable use).

Like traveling? The XKey series of keyboards has low travel compared to a tradtional keyboard. The travel isn’t neededd for this kind of work.

My only complaints about the XKey Air are minor. First, the 25 key model costs $199, and the 37 key model costs $299. The original 25 key XKey is $99, and the 37 key XKey is $199. As both a consumer and a music educator, I would love to see the price point drop on these models. That said, if you have an original XKey, you can attach a Zivix PUC+ to it and make it a portable BLE keyboard for the same cost of $199. In other words, the price point isn’t terribly inflated, but I would still love to see a small price drop . I would imagine that some kind of education pricing (for the original XKey or the XKey Air) could be obtained if you reached out to the company. My other complaint is that it would nice if the XKey Air included a light bag of some kind to offer protection as you throw it into a backpack.

Is it worth buying the XKey Air for $100 more than its equivalent XKey?  It depends on what you want to use it for.

The XKey Air is an ideal device for anyone wanting a portable MIDI keyboard interface without wires. When I am working with my iPad or my MacBook, I prefer not having to deal with cables. Additionally, an iPad needs a USB dongle (an additional $29 purchase) to work with a a USB MIDI keyboard.

If I were creating a school MIDI lab with fixed computers, I would consider the original XKey (even above a comparable M-Audio product). They are going to look great in your lab and will hold up to the rigors of daily use. This would also be true if I was teaching with Chromebooks…you probably are not going to buy a WIDI BUD (more on that in a moment) for each Chromebook.

However, if I needed keyboards for a 1:1 iPad school where student iPads were the MIDI lab (not a separate room), I would consider the XKey Air (even at $100 more per device). Why not go truly mobile with your lab? Also, if I was the teacher and I did any work at all in GarageBand (SoundTrap, Soundation) or notation programs, I would want a portable keyboard, particularly if the device I was using was a portable device (MacBook, iPad, Chromebook). As a warning, in a 1:1 scenario, each XKey Air has a unique MAC Bluetooth address, but show up as “XKey Air 25 BLE” on the Bluetooth MIDI interaction panel. This would make connecting difficult–much as we found with our Bluetooth QWERTY keyboards in our 1:1. If every device has the same name, how do you know which one you are using? Zivix has a unique identifier with every name, so I know it is possible to uniquely identify each BLE MIDI device, and I hope that CME is able to add this functionality in a future firmware update (if it isn’t there already, which I may have missed while looking through they XKey app).

In short, I think both CME XKey keyboards are wonderful. They are high quality portable keyboards and a far better solution (in my opinion) than mini keyboards like my old Akai LPK 25, my old M-Audio key stations, and even the Miselu C.24. Do you need the BLE MIDI feature? That’s up to you–I would say, “Yes,” because if you want to add it later, you can (Zivix PUC+) for relatively the same price-but then you again need cables (of a sort) to use the feature. It is wonderful to be able to connect without wires to your iPad, MacBook, Windows laptop, or Chromebook. I do wish the pricing was a bit lower on the XKey Air ($150), but $199 isn’t terribly out of the ballpark. When I spend money on devices, I have to ask if they save me time and frustration in the long run over doing things another way. In the world of iPad, the XKey Air allows me to connect to my iPad without a dongle (as it would to a newer Mac [2012?] than may 2008 Aluminum MacBook) which is a separate $29 purchase. It means less time to connect and take down, and less things to forget going from place to place. So if you are going to use a keyboard with your computing device–in terms of convince, it simply may be the best option to spend an extra $100 for the Bluetooth capability.

So yes, if you are interested, either the XKey or the XKey Air is a “consider buying” item.

WIDI BUD

The WIDI BUD in its blister packaging

When I opened the package from CME, my initial reaction to the WIDI BUD, packaged in a small blister card with minimal instructions, was, “HO HUM.”

That initial reaction was really, really, really wrong. It is going to be a while until BLE MIDI is packaged with every device.  If you have a newer iPad or MacBook, you have it already–but old Apple devices, many Windows devices, most Android devices, and most (all?) Chromebooks do not have BLE MIDI capability.

This little dongle, which looks like a newer flash drive, gives BLE MIDI capability to nearly every device.

This means that you can use an XKey Air with an older iPad, MacBook, Windows computer…you get the idea. There are limitations (you have to be running Windows XP SP3, Ver 4 of Android, iOS 4.2, Chrome 43.0) but generally, if you have a modern device, the WIDI BUD can add BLE MIDI to your computing device if it does not have it.

Last summer, Web MIDI was announced, and over the last year, programs have been adding it: Noteflight, Flat.io, SoundTrap to name a few.

With this dongle, you can make a Chromebook into a BLE MIDI device, utilizing Web MIDI on these programs. Sure, you can also add a wired USB connection, which is what you would do for students (you would have a stack of physical keyboards that they would check out, use, and return). But for YOUR use…go wireless. Trust me on this one.

What is amazing is that the WIDI BUD makes a connection with a BLE MIDI device on its own. I haven’t tried having two BLE MIDI sending devices turned on at the same time, so I do not know how the device would respond to two competing devices for its attention–but plug in the WIDI BUD, and turn on the XKey Air, and it works. That’s it. The WIDI BUD will remember that connection until it loses power. So, if you want to connect another BLE MIDI device (such as the JamStik+ or the PUC+), turn off the XKey Air, turn on the JamStik+, and plug in the WIDI BUD.

So yes…the WIDI BUD works with ANY existing BLE MIDI device.  (See note)

Let me copy and paste that again…

The WIDI BUD works with ANY existing BLE MIDI device. (See note)

So…the JamStik+, the PUC+, the Korg MKey Air, and the few keyboards sold with BLE MIDI…should be able to  work with the WIDI BUD.

Note: This statement was not true.  It turns out that the Quicco Sound mi.1.  See more at my follow-up article.

The WIDI BUD in use, in a Chromebook. Check out the video…it works!

I have now said this for over a year…reliable MIDI interaction with a BLE MIDI device is a game changer in ease of use and functionality.

Chromebooks being able to use MIDI keyboards over a wired USB connection is a major step forward, and it means that I could teach Music Theory (mostly with Noteflight or Flat.io) with Chromebooks, and I could teach a Music Technology class (SoundTrap, Soundation, Noteflight, Flat.io) using Chromebooks. But to be able to connect wirelessly means that using those programs for my own use (not just in teaching) becomes a possibility.

Being able to use any BLE MIDI device with just about any host computing device is a game changer, too. At that point,  you are only limited by the apps and programs that are available on your computing device. And remember…on Chrome OS, the best apps require a subscription to get all of the features that you want to use (Noteflight requires a subscription to even use MIDI recording). I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, because companies deserve to earn money. But it is something that we need to teach IT departments as they typically don’t plan for annual subscriptions.

My only complaints about the WIDI BUD are the size of the device (it has to be that small, but people will lose them), and they are a TIGHT fit in your USB port (which is probably intentional so that you leave it plugged in). I am leaving this WIDI BUD in its package after I use it, so that I can keep track of it.

My only other complaint is that I can’t find the pricing for the WIDI BUD on CME’s website, so I am hoping that it is released soon and will be affordable!

As you can tell, if you have a computing device that does not have BLE MIDI, I think the WIDI BUD is a must buy. I don’t know anything else like it on the market.

Thanks again to CME and Virgin Musical Instruments for allowing me to review and show off these devices.  A video appears below.

Advertisements

A Comprehensive Music Education Program

Six years ago, I chose to bid from my current high school position in our district to a brand new high school that we were building. Included in that position that was being a part of a year-long planning team before the school opened. During that year, we taught at our existing school but also met frequently to be involved in every aspect of the new school–and ultimately, I had a large part in defining the entire music program at that school (I also had a band colleague in this process).

Although it may have been my driving opinion, we felt that a modern high school should not simply offer band, choir, and orchestra. As a result, we created a program with the following elements:

  • Traditional Bands, three levels, ability based
  • Traditional Choirs (five), two gender-based “beginner” choirs, and then three abiltity based mixed choirs
  • Guitar, three levels
  • Beginning Music Theory
  • AP Music Theory (music theory level 2)
  • Music in History and World Cultures
  • In my last year, we managed to put a Music Technology course on the program of studies, although the course did not have enough enrollment to run (see below). I became convinced that music technology was a needed (an interesting) element to add to the curriculum.
  • We also wanted to consider adding courses such as Jazz Band, Show Choir, and Drum Line.

We built the music program with the idea of, “Build it and they will come.” Even if the courses did not run, they were on the books and could run when they needed to run.

 

Over the first four years of the school, we ran a number of these classes; typically two bands, three choirs, occasional classes in music theory, and regular courses at Guitar level 1, and the occasional level 2.

 

We had a MIDI lab installed when we opened the school, a seventeen seat lab with a computer, MIDI keyboard, microphone, Finale (2010), and other free software (e.g. Audacity). The plan was to use this lab in conjunction with our Music Theory courses.

 

Ultimately FTE ratios became a challenge. In music courses, the minimum cap number of 25 was usually enforced. Any music teacher will tell you that FTE is a deceptive number. There are always courses where FTE is allowed to dip “below” that magic number of 25, and if the district ratio is at 32.5 (as our is), no one is ever concerned if music or physical educaton teachers have a FTE ratio far above that ratio. Counselors I talked to considered these courses “black holes” where you could place students and lower the FTE for other teachers. Ultimately, if your program is a “favored” program of your administration, the administration runs those courses regardless of FTE. As we opened the school, both the Band and Choir were below the “actual” FTE requirements, partially because we opened under the last year of a four-period day where students were strongly encouraged to take two years of math and two years of foreign language in one year while they still could. Choir began with 35 students and band with 105; by the end of my four years there, choir was at 156 and Band at 88 (there was additional growth for next year). I don't want to make the case that we were overloaded with students, but I do want to point out that an additional class or two could have been added, only further justifying our FTE. One year I taught (under the four period day) three choirs and another course (music theory or guitar). But that only happened in one year (year 2, I believe).

 

Logically, courses such as Music Theory are intended as a place for your most gifted musicians who want to prepare for college (I also found that a number of guitar players not in traditional band/choir/orchestra would take music theory to learn how to write music). We will run an AP course of 15 students for a high level science or math course for students wanting to pursue those fields in college–but doing so in music was a hard thing for our administration to justify.

 

Furthermore, it became clear that the MIDI Lab was a poor investment; the MIDI Lab only had 17 work stations, and if you needed a class of 25 to run a course, what do 8 students do while the others work on the computers?

 

As I have written about in the past, I left that school last year, and have taught this year at a middle school in our district which is 1:1. I will be writing about those experiences in the weeks to come. Yesterday I was visting with another teacher in our district, and wondered if my former schools was going to be offering any of the comprehensive music courses we created. I looked at the district program of studies, and all of our “comprehensive” courses no longer exist at that school.

 

To be clear: the program of studies is impacted by the staff at each school, and they have input on what courses are offered. It is possible that the new teachers had no interest in offering those courses. Many music teachers consider themselves specialists: “I only teach ______.” Many teachers do not even want to consider teaching theory, history, guitar, or music technology as a separate course. I understand that point of view, but one of the things I have learned in my educational path is that schools need to offer more than band/choir/orchestra. You might disagree, or you might not feel equipped to teach such classes. But the end result is that you CAN teach those classes. You are a music educator–you are first and foremost a generalist, a common practitioner, and a specialist in your field second to that. If FTE is a factor in your teaching position, why wouldn't you want the FTE from guitar or music theory to keep you at 1.0? Sometimes we are afraid that we will lose kids from traditional band/choir/orchestra if we offer other courses such as “guitar.” You might lose some kids to those classes, and you can take steps to protect yourself (don't make guitar meet an Arts credit–making the course a true elective, only offer it to upper classmen, etc.). But generally, my thought has become: if a kid is in music, taught by a music teacher, they are still in music. MENC (now NAfME) used to say, “Music for every child, every child for music.” When 80% (or more) of high school students aren't in music when band/choir/orchestra are the only options, we're missing a lot of kids, and there is huge potential for growth.

 

Again, I don't know if the new teachers simply didn't want to teach those courses (which didn't always run), but the removal of those courses from the offiicial “program of studies” also shows that the administration of that school did not share the same vision for a comprehensive program in music education. Otherwise, you could simply leave the courses in the program of studies but simply not run those courses. So it is yet a further validation that my decision to move (first and foremost for my family and to work in a 1:1 situation) was the right move.

 

Let me be clear: I am in total support of band, choir, and orchestra in our schools. I love classical music, and I think those programs are relevant for today; I am not sure that our students (or their parents) always agree with us. So, keep offering those traditional music courses, but also consider offering non-traditional courses for that other 80%. But: would you be willing to teach a theory course, or a guitar course?

 

Inspired

I was inspired last night by a new poster by Richard Wells at ipads4schools.org. The picture appears below and says so much, so simply (I have asked for permission to share this poster on my blog and in my books on Thor iBookstore). As a very important side note, Richard has a ton of wonderful iPad resources on his website.

I find myself continually speaking out against notebooks and Chromebooks, because they just don't fit in music classrooms (applications, SAMR, and other topics just further the argument). Clamshell computers leave music “out in the cold” when it comes to technology. As a result, I began drawing this image in response, really in alignment, with Richard's poster. It took two hours to draw my stick figures in ArtStudio on the iPad (the background is a real stage–I didn't draw it). Enjoy!

 

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.

A Secondary level Music Technology Class featuring the iPad

I recently had a chance to visit a local high school that offers a music technology course. The course focuses on GarageBand and its many resources for Mac. I want to create a course similar to that course, but I want to use the iPad instead. I foresee a course that would have a bit more in the realm of music theory for students, up to the point of understanding basic rules for chord progressions (this will facilitate the use of GarageBand’s chord tools).

I have begun the process of following a number of “techie” music teachers (Twitter and blogs), and two things hold true. First, these educators are highly collegial. Second, they universally see themselves as music educators, not as a specialist in a specific area of music (although many of them are master teachers in a band, choir, or orchestra (BCO) situation). Universally, every one of these educators is concerned about the 80% of students who do not take BCO courses at the secondary level (Your school may have a different percentage, but on average, about 80% of secondary students are not in performance classes).

At our school, we’ve added Guitar (Levels 1, 2, and 3), Beginning Music Theory, AP Music Theory, and Music in History and World Cultures to meet the needs of non-BCO students. Thus far, we’ve offered Guitar Level 1 three times, Guitar Level 2 one time, and Beginning Music Theory one time. We do get a small number of students who sign up for the other classes, but the administration kills those offerings because they do not approach the 32.5 student ratio as outlined by the district. We have even had some BCO offerings eliminated due to that same 32.5 ratio. Staffing has been affected as a result–in one of the state’s newest high schools, in a metro area. Meanwhile, we have a increasingly large number of our top students who are taking STEM classes (Project Lead the Way Biomedical and Engineering) and AVID, and a number of students taking remedial English and math courses. When students take STEM, AVID, or remedial courses, they have no room for music. We also compete with foreign language as many students are required to take four years of a language to be accepted at prestigious colleges and universities. Ultimately, when your adminstration and counselors stress that students need to take specific courses, students take thouse courses.

How do we get more of the 80% (or more) students that are not in BCO offerings to come to our music program? I think the answer lies in a music technology course centered on the iPad.

This is the first post in a sequence of posts I’ll be writing as I develop a course proposal for a music technology course that could be taught at the high school level (and perhaps the middle school/junior high school level) utilizing the iPad. I’m happy to share these thoughts (and the final proposal) if others wish to adopt (or adapt) a similar course. My only request would be that if you have feedback, please send me an e-mail message. I would also hope that you would allow me to post some of the feedback that you have to offer.

Yes, I am fully aware of the greater functionality of the desktop version of GarageBand. At the same time, I want to make a replicable course that uses technology that is of great interest to students (and very applicable for 1-to-1 situations). The iPad is a piece of technology that is of high interest, is relatively affordable (compared to a lab of iMacs), and is extremely portable. Any classroom can become a music technology lab with iPads.

Task 1: 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.

Your thoughts?

Next Task: Required Equipment and Expenditures

Future Tasks: Individual Teaching Units, Rubrics