Music, once a core component in the nation’s school systems, is re-emerging as a vital link in student’s education, and we here at Soundtrap (www.soundtrap.com) are excited to collaborate with New York University’s Music Experience Design Lab (www.musedlab.org) on a project that nurtures the creativity and critical thinking skills that students of all ages need to succeed in the 21st century.
Teaching With a New Attitude
NYU’s MusEDLab developed the Groove Pizza app (https://musedlab.org/groovepizza) for the groundbreaking MathScienceMusic.org. (https://mathsciencemusic.org) education platform and for it’s own University students. This website was recently initiated by the prestigious Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz in Washington, D.C., and UNESCO, to help integrate the boundless reaches of music into science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) in schools throughout the U.S. Here at Soundtrap, we worked with NYU’s, Alex Ruthman and together was found a way to extend Groove Pizza beyond the app – now students can take a “Groove” or beat they make on the app and bring it to Soundtrap to add music, audio and more.
MathScienceMusic.org’s unique mission provides free, engaging curricula, games, apps and other online elements to educators that use music to teach math and science to K-12 and college students. Groove Pizza, which launched April 26, is on the short list of preferred music-centric resources featured on MatchScienceMusic.org as a vehicle for teaching K-12 students other academic lessons.
What makes the easy-to-use Groove Pizza mobile interface so special is the way in which it cleverly integrates math with musical grooves. Users draw lines, shapes and patterns in the circle, or “pizza,” with each shape and line generating its own distinct sound. Students learn about rhythm, proportions, fractions and multiples, and with enough shapes and lines, they create elaborate musical beats. In doing so, these eager youngsters discreetly learn math.
Groove Pizza Meets the First Couple
The organic connection between music and classroom learning is no secret: Vast research shows students who study music listen more closely, problem solve more effectively and collaborate more easily. They develop healthier social relationships and a greater propensity for civic involvement. Musical beats and rhythms help math students learn advanced concepts in algebra, and making music nurtures the same spacial reasoning required of an engineer.
Famed jazz composer Herbie Hancock, who chairs the Thelonius Monk Institute, studied electrical engineering before pursuing his music career full-time. At an April 26 panel organized by the U.S. Department of Education to discuss how music can be better integrated into lessons on math, engineering and computer science, Hancock pointed to an intrinsic link between music and creating things. He noted that his ability to “analyze things and figure out the details ”—and not a talent for music—were the skills that furthered his jazz career. The panel was held in advance of International Jazz Day on April 30, the day that Groove Pizza was introduced to President Obama and the First Lady.
Making Music was Never This Easy
Unlike many cumbersome music production apps, Groove Pizza exports easily to the Soundtrap platform, regardless of the user’s musical abilities and interest. Soundtrap’s simple browser, cloud-based platform system works across all operating systems, Mac, iOS, Windows and Chromebook, making it easy to collaborate with music makers around the world. Looking forward, we see Soundtrack’s collaboration with NYU’s MusEDLab as the genesis of many great ideas, and the first step in a longstanding partnership.