First Time Music Creators: A Glimpse Into High School Students’ Reactions to Creating Music

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High school music classes in the United States are varied. Traditional band, orchestra, and chorus classes have been augmented by a variety of music classes and including classes that focus on the use of technology as a tool for music creation. Since 2005, these classes are being offered in more and more schools around the United States. The focus for many of these classes is to use music composition as a teaching tool. Research has been conducted on student composers of all age groups from elementary school through high school but mostly focus on the compositional process. This study sets out to explore the experience of some students who have taken one of these music classes, music composition with technology, at a high school in the United States. The availability of free software, even entry level software, for multiple platforms or devices can be extremely valuable entry for students who might not otherwise even attempt to engage in music creation. These implications could be potential influencers for further innovation within industry. Music software manufacturers may consider providing some free music lessons, more than just "how to use the software" but how to use the software to create music.

V.J. MANZO (PhD Temple University, M.M. New York University) is Associate Professor of Music Technology and Cognition at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). He is a composer and guitarist with research interests in theory and composition, artificial intelligence, interactive music systems, music cognition, and electric guitar performance. At WPI, he is the co-director of the Media Arts Group Innovation Center (MAGIC), and directs labs related to interactive music system development and electronic device manufacturing. Manzo is author of several books published by Oxford University Press including Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Foundations of Music Technology, and co-author of Interactive Composition and Environmental Sound Artists. He has created numerous software projects including the Modal Object Library, a collection of programming objects to control harmony in algorithmic and electro-acoustic compositions, and EAMIR, an open-source project and 501c3 non-profit charity organization that supports composition, performance, education, and research through accessible technology-based musical instruments. He is the founder of Clear Blue Media, a boutique production company that develops and distributes multimedia, music, and interactive software applications including music-oriented games, educational systems, and performance software for interactive music. He is also the co-founder of Fuse, an electronic and pro-audio hardware manufacturer.


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Last modified on Monday, 10/06/2019

Barbara Freedman and Elaine Reeder

Barbara Freedman has been teaching Electronic Music Composition & Audio Engineering at Greenwich High School, CT since 2001. She is the Co-President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators (TI:ME) Connecticut Chapter, and is an author, consultant, trainer, and frequent presenter/clinician at state, and national and international in-service conferences. 

Elaine M. Reeder, PhD, is an innovative designer, passionate about cultivating an environment for learning. She received her BFA from RIT, MA from GW, and her PhD in Learning Technologies from University of North Texas. Elaine held positions in private industry, education, and served as a tenured faculty member for fifteen years.

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