A few months ago I discovered the Groove Pizza App made by the NYU MusEDLab: a circular rhythm app for creative music making and learning. This app is also great for learning and u...
You cannot imagine how thrilled we are to discover week by week the people who are shaping our community. And we are always enthusiastic to share their inspirational stories and to explore each time a new thematic of Flat.
After two first articles about enhancing creativity into the classroom and adding fun to music lessons, let's talk about encouraging collaboration between students. And we had the pleasure to meet Mrs Sue Jehl, who opened us the door of her music classroom. Many thanks for this amazing story that we will describe through this blog post. 😊
Sue has been teaching music for 34 years and currently works at Summit Middle School, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She is in charge of the instrumental music program of the 6th to 8th-grade students. Sue is also the school band director: she teaches three concert bands, the jazz band and a music keyboard class. All these classes added-up account for more than 200 students during the school year!
A large majority of her music keyboard students between the 6th and 8th grades are non-musician. Sue's goal is to teach them music through the practice of piano and directly initiate them into composition. While the challenge seems big at first sight, she has seized the opportunity to work with tools her young students love: COMPUTERS!
The problem is that the traditional music notation software programs did not fit students' expectations. Her classes of digital natives are used to browsing easy-to-use apps and websites on various devices. So the big concern for Sue was to find a new music notation software adapted to these new habits.
"Students are all about technology today. On Flat, they try to make music on their computer and have a direct feedback of how it sounds. This is the way they learn."
Sue saw her efforts rewarded with the discovery of Flat on February 2016. She immediately noticed more engagement from her students, who quickly learned how it worked. "Students are all about technology today. On Flat, they try to make music on their computer and have a direct feedback of how it sounds. This is the way they learn," Sue told us.
She saw in the new software the opportunity to put composition at the center of the curriculum. With the jazz band class, she is amazed by the student's creativity when working on improvisation or ear training. "Students come up with their own blues solo that they composed on Flat at home. They present their ideas and team up to improve their creations and make it fit with the ensemble," Sue added. The key-feature is the opportunity to have a direct feedback from hearing how their creations sound, something they couldn't have before working with Flat.
"Students come up with their own blues solo that they composed at home. They present their ideas and team up to improve their creations and make it fit with the ensemble."
The feedback from the software did not come alone, as students have become more willing to collaborate between them. "Students quickly started to explain each other how to use the different aspects of the program, which saved me some precious time," Sue acknowledged. Collaboration happened both inside and outside the classroom. It became very natural for students to communicate their ideas between them, and even to work together on a song.
"Students quickly started to explain each other how to use the different aspects of the program, which saved me some precious time."
Collaboration is key as students have the opportunity to play their creation in front of the class. It creates a friendly learning environment as they are encouraged to share their ideas and thoughts on their friends' work. It is even more rewarding for the jazz band class to compose on Flat since the solos they create will be played at the school concerts.
"I am also impressed by how quickly I can get an answer each time I have a question from the support. The reactivity of the Flat team really helped me implement the software in my curriculum."
One last thing, we couldn't be more grateful when Sue told us that she was impressed by how quickly she could get an answer to any question on the product. Full disclosure: every member of the team answers your messages. Because who can better answer questions on a product than the team who built it? 😉
The next step for Sue? The music teacher considers using Google Classroom to push collaboration even further within her students. With the full integration of Flat to the G Suite for Education, there are still more opportunities to enhance productivity and communication in her music lessons.
It was a real pleasure to discover how Sue appropriated our product to create her own collaborative environment for music education. 👏
Each new success story is an opportunity to get a clear picture of how Flat helps all the teachers and students who use the platform at school or at home everyday. It also gives us a new outlook on how we can improve the music composition experience for everyone.
Thanks a lot for reading and I hope you enjoyed the story!
Have a wonderful day,
Willing to create your own success story as a music teacher? Get educational licenses to make the most of Flat with your students. ✌️