What the lesson is about
As music teachers, the need for the virtual dimension to be part of our teaching has never been more pressing, writes Anthony Anderson.
On the front line is the amazing array of video clips that bring music alive. Rusty on rag? Jaded about jazz? Video sources such as YouTube, Channel 4 Clipbank or listening guides from the Philharmonia Orchestra can provide a quick virtual trip around the world. Howard Goodall has been teaching virtually in my classroom for years. He has an incredible ability to explain music clearly, providing engaging musical examples and packing it all into a coherent programme.
And this is just the beginning. Powerful software programs such as Sibelius enable pupils to explore notation, while Logic and Traktor Scratch open up the respective worlds of recording, sequencing and DJ'ing. SmartMusic is a versatile practice tool to develop pupils' performance skills, while Band-in-a-Box places a huge range of styles, parts and instruments at your fingertips.
Then there is the humble learning environment. It can house pupil compositions, teachers' musical examples and exercises, and much more besides. I was stunned last year when I looked at the number of GCSE music pupils at my college who were actively accessing music resources in the weeks immediately before their final exam.
It is hard to imagine my music classroom without my virtual teachers. No doubt there will be new apps even by the time I have finished writing this.
Anthony Anderson has shared a number of suggestions for programs and resources to inspire modern musicians. Are there technophobes among your classroom composers? Try Old Guit's last-minute top tips for the Cubasis software.