Growing up, I have always loved music but never really worked to acquire it like many of my friends with thousands of albums in their collection. I can recall seeing my brother, with great precision, pulling the vinyl out of the sleeve, dusting it with a red velvet contraption and delicately setting the needle down to rock out to some of the finest classics of my childhood. Cranking out the Who, Led Zepplin, The Stones and playing the Doors backwards when he wasn’t around thinking that we would hear something special (as if the Doors weren’t dark enough to begin with) were very special. With technology, came access and my world opened up, skipping a decade of Napster and the likes, I arrive at audio streaming. I still don’t have a collection per-se except for a small defining mix of “must haves” to make me feel legit but now with access to all the content I could ever imagine on the road or on my phone, I feel I could hold my own at the next impromptu backyard rave. My brother, a purest, says much is lost in digital recordings, and I don’t disagree. He has amps with old-school tubes in them to bring out the richest of sounds and still cares for records like small children yearning to get outside to play and each spin on the table – a celebration of his youth.
Much of this experience will never happen for students growing up today, is it a loss, perhaps? For me, building the excitement for the first time of dropping the needle down to hear the soft static track filled with a fine dust, waiting for the first vibrations transmitted magically through a needle are irreplaceable.
So, were is music today? While this could easily turn into a 20 page essay, my question is really about the place of audio in the classroom beyond the expected venues. Should music be played, accessed, analyzed, built into mathematical equations for students to reach higher order thinking skills and connecting to real world experiences? I think so. This generation has unlimited access and tools to break sound and music down to key elements, understand the emotion of sound and its impact on society. We should couple music and sound with lessons, providing a score to our presentations and touch an untapped modality for our learners that would bring our lessons, flip-charts, power points to a new level. To that, I again, nod to music and sound in the classroom to break the deafening silence.
While there are hundreds of apps both in IOS and Google that can do everything from sampling to playing every concert the Grateful Dead has ever preformed, I leave you but one: Sound as an expression from another human being, both professional and novice to you.
Recording and uploading sounds to SoundCloud lets people easily share them privately with their friends or publicly to blogs, sites and social networks. It takes just a click to share sounds to Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Foursquare. SoundCloud can be accessed anywhere using the official iPhone and Android apps, as well as hundreds of creation and sharing apps built on the SoundCloud platform.
Have other tools or ideas? Please share your thoughts or experiences.