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Getting Kids Excited About Music Technology!

Somehow, the last week of term was upon us.

We decided to set everything up the night before and run through the sessions as many times as possible until we felt comfortable with the format and knew that it would all run smoothly.

 

After we’d got all the tech up and running and worked through what requirements we’d need for the next day with the support staff, we ran through the presentation a few times and worked through some glitches.

To make an event successful, one of the key points is to try and pinpoint anything that could go wrong and make sure that you preemptively come up with solutions to these potential problems. One main area that we foresaw that might potentially go awry was that sometimes coming up and participating in front of a group is a difficult thing to do -particularly so with teenagers! Our solution was that if we were genuinely struggling to get any participation going on, then we would have to enlist (maybe begrudgingly) the teachers/student ambassadors/York staff to help us out.

After an early morning start the next day, we started off by running through everything once more and making sure everything was still working correctly from the night before. Then, before the groups started to arrive, I went down to the lobby just before to meet them. We were to be teaching three sessions throughout the day, and as there were some delays with some of the other groups, it meant that the first group that arrived came for our first session and got slightly longer than the rest. Luckily we had thought about it in advance, and planned to show some videos portraying the excitement of music technology- which we ended up using in all the sessions!

Overall, the level of interactivity between the three groups that we saw varied somewhat, and I was glad that we had anticipated solutions to the problem of the students being either somewhat apathetic or difficult to coax into standing in front of others. I think that, reflecting on the experience with hindsight, if I were to run something similar again I might think about how this problem could be avoided so as to make sure that everyone who might have wanted to participate got a chance to.

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Other than that, the sessions themselves seemed to run quite smoothly and with minimal hiccups. It was very enjoyable for to see the excitement on their faces when they found out that music making had such exciting potential. It was also enjoyable to see the event that we had spent so long devising coming together and for our ideas to be turned into actions.

We received feed back from the students in the form of a questionnaire and this allowed us to reflect on what went well and what we could have improved. In response to the question “What was the most useful aspect of today’s event?” some particularly encouraging responses included:

  • “The MIDI session with Hash, Liz, Jameson and Jack.”
  • “That you don’t need instruments to make music.”
  • “I think the MIDI workshop was the most useful and enjoyable because it helped me develop my knowledge on the subject.”

 

When asked “How do you think today’s event could have been improved?” some responses included:

  • “Maybe give us more time to use equipment and instruments.”
  • “If we could have used more technology.”

The responses and feedback from the children, both positive and negative, are a useful learning tool for future events and presentations, within both an academic or professional context and allowed us to reflect on what went well and what we could have improved.

Overall, I think we achieved our aim which was to get the children to participate and to spark some passion and excitement about music technology, which is a pretty rewarding experience.

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