The Band Broke Up: A Collaborative Project Between Arizona State & U of Central Missouri

Guest post by Isaac Bickmore. Isaac is a professor of music education at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg Missouri. He has a PhD in music education from Arizona State University from with his collaborator on this project Russ Biczo is currently a graduate student at.

I taught a class at Arizona State University called the Digital Hybrid Lab. This class focused on the intersection of music, teaching and technology. One of the goals of the class was to help future educators think about how they might leverage different types of technology to help engage students musically.

I create projects that will help preservice teachers engage with technology and the principles of teaching. The Band Broke Up is a project that Russ Biczo and I developed and used during my time at Arizona State University. This past fall I reached out to Russ, who is currently attending ASU, and asked if he wanted to collaborate. He had taken over teaching the Digital Hybrid Lab and we decided to connect and group his Digital Hybrid Lab students and my Middle School General Music Methods students. Each group had at least 2 people from UCM and 3 people from ASU. Our challenge was being separated by a great distance.  We needed a tool that could help us connect and make music together. We introduced the students to Soundtrap and the below project (feel free to modify or use this project plan!):

Soundtrap was a perfect fit for this project! The collaborative nature of this tool allowed the students to connect musically with their peers across the country. Many groups used the chat feature to discuss important musical decisions and decide what type of song they would create. This tool is ideal for preservice teachers for several reasons:

  1. Great Introduction to DAWs – Some preservice teachers have never used a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and Soundtrap is a great entry level platform but also robust enough for students to take editing sound to the next level. Many of the features of Soundtrap are similar to other DAWs. When you familiarize yourself with Soundtrap you are also learning how to use a DAW in general.
  2. Collaboration – Soundtrap is designed around collaboration. That could  mean helping students collaborate with each other in the same room or with people on the other side of the world. Using Soundtrap in your classroom has the potential to bring musical perspectives from around the world and this is very appealing to administrators and instructional leaders.
  3. Not Platform Specific – You can use Soundtrap on any internet capable device! Other DAWs are platform specific and when the preservice teachers get jobs as teachers, there is no telling what types of technology/devices they and their students will have access to. With Soundtrap, if a student has a smartphone, Chromebook, iPad, or any type of computer they are set up for success.
  4. Affordable – Soundtrap for personal use has a free version to try out. If you want to upgrade for use in your educational setting, you have approximately a 95% discount off of Soundtrap for Education with Google Classroom integration, assignment/class organization and all of the premium features. 

Read what some of the students involved with this project thought here.

This past semester we collaborated with ASU…maybe next semester we can collaborate with some students in Sweden!

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