Tripping the light fantastic;Music;Cover feature

10th September 1999 at 01:00
3Schools are connecting to the National Grid for Learning and teachers are being trained, but what software, materials and support will be out there for them? George Cole investigates the role of good content for the cyberschool generation, followed by a subject-by-subject stock-check

Andy Murray, a freelance music consultant, says: "The web is breeding a generation of music consumers rather than producers. Few sites are dedicated to education, so teachers need to adapt the content to suit their needs."

A good example is the Movietunes site, which contains samples from a range of music scores: "You could select, say, the excerpt from the shower scene in Psycho to demonstrate how music is used to create tension and terror, and compare it with say, the music from Jaws."

There are many thousands of sound samples available on the Internet, but downloading them can take time and the quality is variable. Murray believes schools should look seriously at using streaming audio technology like Real Audio. As the name suggests, streaming audio is sent to a PC as a constant stream of sound, which is played in real time. This is faster than downloading a large music file on to a computer hard disk and then playing it. And in order to get the best sound quality from online music, schools should get the fastest Internet connection they can afford.

Andy Murray is co-author of a book Music Technology Inspected: good teaching at Key Stage 3 (an OfstedBECTA publication) and can be contacted at:

10 websites

Excerpts from film scores, put into various genres

Classical music MIDI files

25 website reviews by Andy Murray

Useful resources and links music site by Rob Jones, head of music at St Mary's College, Hull.


Andy Murray's web site.

Music teachers' resource site.

Support site for The Arts Inspected book.

Piano resources and links.

National Association of Music Educators.

US site of Music Education Online with links to US schools.


10 resources

Music Box, pound;35 from Topologika.

Tel: 01326 377771

Compose World, pound;48 from Topologika (details as above)

Music Games, pound;29 from Inclusive Technology.

Tel: 01457 819790

RM Music Explorer, pound;99 from RM. Tel: 01235 826060

Sibelius, pound;339 from Sibelius. Tel: 0800 458 3111

Computer Music Starter Kit, pound;69.99 inc VAT from et cetera. Tel: 01706

228 039

Logic, from pound;79 to pound;349 from Sound Technology.Tel: 01462 480000

The Arts Inspected, pound;14.99 from Heinemann. Tel: 01865 888080.

Music Technology in Action teacher support materials consisting of five booklets, video and CD-Rom, pound;19.50 from BECTA. Tel: 01203 416669

Lives of the Great Composers, pound;69 from AVP. Tel: 01291 625439

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