Music. Augmented Reality. Cryptology. Whales. Gaming. What’s the commonality between these themes? A usual response to Kate Hargreaves after she explains how these topics are utilised in The MusicEDU Suite for classroom music is, “I wish I had this in high school”.
MusicEDU aims to create tomorrow’s musicians, today by implementing its programs in secondary classroom music.
Sydney-based Founder and CEO, Kate Hargreaves has seen high schools use these programs for nine years.
She now works with a team that develop the resources to ensure they continue to cater to differentiation, equip students with real-life skills and are relevant to ever-changing industries.
Most recently, MusicEDU has launched the program Augmented Reality Classroom.
For tech-heads, augmented reality (AR) may be a familiar term; however, it’s yet to become a household-known word as it’s such a modern development.
AR uses devices to enter interactive experiences that overlay digital components onto the user’s real-world environment.
“It’s been amazing visiting some of the school’s who will now use AR Classroom. The kids who aren’t your stereotypical music students are buzzing to use the programs, and as a result, are learning traditional music concepts. It’s like hiding the veggies in the pasta sauce,” Hargreaves says.
It’s clear to see Hargreaves’ passion for the five programs in The MusicEDU Suite, and for good reason.
“Our mission is to give every student the opportunity to enjoy music in the classroom. There doesn’t seem to be another compulsory subject that has such broad differentiation as music. We prioritise shaping the resources to cater for all abilities,” explains Hargreaves.
Research has shown that broad differentiation in the classroom leads to rapid student disengagement.
It’s common to see that students who don’t have a musical background rule themselves out from achieving in the subject.
Similarly, students that have extensive musical experience are often not challenged within the classroom, leading to disengagement.
“The programs are incorporating game composition, DJ’ing, remixing, recording and now AR, so they’re bringing technology into the classroom which is proving to be the great equaliser”, says Hargreaves.
MusicEDU includes the programs GameComposer, Trackformers, Studio Sessions, Keyboard Evolution, and Augmented Reality Classroom.
“We look at the skills currently used in the music industry, and it doesn’t often reflect what’s taught in the classroom. That’s where we wanted to find some middle ground,” Hargreaves says.
Each program combines traditional music concepts with the learning of industry-leading topics. Within Augmented Reality Classroom, students learn instruments of the orchestra, song structure via whales and their songs, and encryption through cryptology in music.
Hargreaves makes a point to emphasise that MusicEDU doesn’t aim to replace schools’ entire music curriculum.
“We have a personalised service so we can understand each school’s strategic direction, goals, and what they want to keep in their current program,” she says. “We work with teachers to design a custom program to work alongside what the music department wants to do with their students. We understand that every school has its differences and does not measure success in the same way.”
MusicEDU aims to reduce the administrative workload of teachers and assists with classroom planning. All the programs are mapped to the Australian Curriculum and accessible on every device.