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193 Golding Drive, Cobleskill, NY 12043, V: 518.234.8368 F: 518.234.4114, Scott McDonald, Principal Jeffrey Klenk, Asst. Principal

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Aug. 2, 2011

Golding students pair technology, music

composing classGolding Middle School students get a unique learning opportunity in the school's music lab.

The interactive lab, which is used by the general music classes, mixes fun and education as students learn basic music compositional skills using a keyboard, computer, and special software. The room also
features a SmartBoard for instructional use. Anything shown on the SmartBoard can be instantly played on the computers.

Using the software Sibelius - a leading composition software - music teacher Suzanne Whitney has created many lessons that combine the software and SmartBoard use to create a visual representation of the music students play and hear. The students learn the compositional tools in the classroom, write a piece of music that is technically correctly, then take their pieces to the lab and input them into the computer program to hear and edit their music.

"I don't know of any other middle school that does this," Golding Principal Scott McDonald said.

composing classEach workspace in the lab is equipped with a computer connected to a piano keyboard and a pair of headphones for the user. Students can play the keyboard and watch the notes instantly appear on the screen or edit and compose on the computer and hear their compositions played back to them. Finally, they can print them out and have a piece of sheet music that looks as though they purchased it.

"Kids get to play around with music and learn how it works while actually learning how to play," McDonald said. "By seeing their compositions on screen and hearing the result, they realize how it breaks down and what happens if they do this or that."

"The kids love it," added Golding math teacher and administrative intern Dave Slater. "Some of the music they are creating is impressive."

The implications of the lab go beyond the music class.

"It's an excellent connection to math because of the fractions of notes," Slater added.

The language arts applications aren't far behind as the students begin to work with the rhythmic aspect of poetry to write words to their musical compositions.

"The possibilities are endless," Whitney said. "The students teach me new concepts and work-arounds every day."