In my previous blog post, I talked about how music education is important in schools and how music technology can facilitate it. It was based on research I did online and my own opinions. However, since then, I have done my own individual research, in the form of a survey. In that survey, I found that, out of the 53 responses, most of the respondents were male. That made sense, as my dad sent this out to some musicians and an illustrator group, most of whom were male. In addition, most respondents were either 13-18 years old or 41-50 years old. This was expected, too, as I sent this out to fellow students, and most of my dad's friends were around his age and in their forties. As expected, most respondents were from the United States, but surprisingly, people responded from Germany to England and even Singapore! Also, an unexpected number of people with graduate degrees responded.
However, that part was relatively unimportant. The important parts were the questions about music education. Most respondents or their children were involved in a local school district, which was relatively unexpected but probably would be easily explainable when you look at the fact that children are included in the question. A surprising number of respondents played a musical instrument, which may have been skewed. When respondents were asked how important music was to them, 79% put an 8, 9, or 10, showing that most thought it was important. However, even more thought education was important, as 96% put an 8, 9, or 10 when asked how important education was to them. However, when asked about music education as a whole, the results were a bit more spread out. There were a good number of 5, 6, and 7s (28%). That shows that music and education were both important to people, but music education as a whole less so. Then, when asked about donations, people responded with everything from "No." to "$200".
There were two respondents, however, that provided a counter to what I was saying. Both said that using technology should be second to learning a traditional instrument. To tell the truth, I disagree. There are a few reasons for this. The first is because of schools' budgets. A piano can cost anywhere from $4900 to over $10,000; however, twenty cheap MIDI keyboards and a group license to a piece of music software can cost anything from $780 (Garageband), $1800 (Ableton Live) and $2600 (Logic Pro). As you can see, it's usually cheaper. In addition, space can be an issue; small MIDI keyboards usually take up two square feet each, but a guitar takes up a much larger space. Finally, they can be easier to teach with, as each kid can have an affordable "mini-piano" which can make any sound you like, instead of one large piano which students would have to take turns using.
Over the next month or two, I am going to be contacting the school district, asking them about my plan, and contacting companies like Ableton to ask them about discounts. Hopefully I can somehow set something up to bring music education and technology into schools, however slowly this may take. I plan to start in schools that I know will benefit from this, like my former school, Cook-Wissahickon Elementary. They already have a music program starting up, and integrating this technology into the program would be beneficial to it. From there, I'd like to expand the program into other schools across the city. I won't be finished by the time the next blog post rolls around, but I sure will have gotten it started!
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