FF music goes digital thanks to District 544 Foundation [UPDATED]Published 9:09am Wednesday, April 3, 2013 Updated 11:13am Wednesday, April 3, 2013
The future of music education is happening at the Kennedy Secondary School music room thanks to a grant by the 544 Education Foundation. Last October, the foundation awarded $706 to the Band Department for the purchase of an iPad, two digital recorders and music software.
For high school band director Scott Kummerow, the grant has helped the music faculty move forward with the type of education they provide for their students.
“Our primary goal is music education,” said Kummerow. “But our other goal is to support that using new technology.”
Kummerow, who gave a lecture on iPads and other technologies in the classroom to the Minnesota Music Education Association earlier this year, said the technology is especially helpful in the music department because it is so versatile. With one tool like the iPad or tablet computer, a student can watch videos demonstrating techniques, listen to scales or find sheet music to play.
“All the information they can get, it’s never outdated,” said Kummerow. “With new technology, kids will never have to worry about learning from something that isn’t relevant any longer.”
New composing software has allowed students and teachers to write and transcribe music that is easily printed and read. Other programs the department uses for learning evaluations have helped students improve their playing.
“It used to be that the only time a student would ever use a tape recorder was in band class,” joked Kummerow.
With the grant giving students some experience with a new high-tech classroom, Kummerow said the faculty keep their focus on updating how they teach their classes.
“We’re at the forefront of things, but without the money we are a little limited right now,” said Kummerow. “The one thing this has done is fire up a conversation to have a music technology class and have a tech lab of our own. That will all hopefully happen in time.”
The foundation has been a major supporter of the music programs in the past and Kummerow said the faculty will continue to look for grants and available funds to help them best serve their students.
“They’ve been so great to us,” said Kummerow. “This isn’t the first time we’ve been able to use money from the foundation. They do so much.”