top of page

3/3 Introducing My Tech-Powered Music Curriculum: Grade 8


Student using logicpro on iMac


Introduction


In this article, I will finalize introduction of my 3-Year Middle School music curriculum that I have designed and implemented in my current school over the past 3 years.


This article is the final part of a series of three articles where I provide details about the curriculum for grades six, seven, and eight.


To fully understand the content, I suggest reading the first two articles where I set the stage, discuss the challenges involved, and introduce the grade 6 and grade 7 curriculum. Click on the links below to read.



In addition to these articles, I have created a curriculum mind map that provides a comprehensive overview and includes additional resources such as details about assessments, exams, and more.





To receive this mind map, all you have to do is subscribe. As a thank-you for subscribing, you'll get additional (music-tech powered) resource pack. 🎁


Now let's explore the content of the grade 8 curriculum.



 

Grade 8 Music Curriculum Content

Semester 1

Semester 2

Unit 1 - European Music History 3: Romanticism & XX Century

Unit 3 - Exploring Jazz & Blues

Unit 2 - LogicProX Composing 1

Unit 4 - LogicProX Composing 2

---


SEMESTER 1


Unit 1 - European Music History 3: Romanticism & XX Century

In the first unit of eighth grade, students will be completing the final two steps of their journey through music history, focusing on Romanticism and 20th Century music. Additionally, we will delve into the works of several American composers, as the United States experienced significant musical development during the 20th Century.


★ Technology use-case example:


Students can use GarageBand for various purposes, including research, creating mind maps, and composing modern music from the 20th century.


Unit 2 - LogicProX Composing 1


Here comes my favorite unit where students have the opportunity to experience composing in a professional application like Logic Pro X. We are fortunate that when the unit begins, we gain access to the Mac lab where each student can use the computer individually. Earlier, I mentioned the benefits of working in pairs on the iPad. Now, at this stage, they begin to compose more independently. However, there are still opportunities for pair work, mutual analysis, and music appreciation.



LogicProX features covered in the grade 8 Semester 1
LogicProX features covered in the grade 8 Semester 1

The transition from GarageBand to Logic Pro X comes naturally to students, as the interface is quite similar. They can quickly adapt to the new interface and start composing. We offer various types of projects, such as composing soundscapes, specific music forms, or music for short videos.


Take a moment to listen to some of my students' work: click here.



Grade 6 student with headphones working on logic pro on iMac
Student exploring LogicProX

SEMESTER 2


Unit 3 - Exploring Jazz & Blues


The final theory-based unit for grade eight and middle school focuses on the music genres Jazz and Blues. After much consideration, I believe this topic is a perfect continuation of our exploration of music history. Returning to the context that I emphasized during the observation of music history, we now have ample opportunities to observe and compare the music of the 20th century with the timeline of Jazz and Blues, as they overlap.


Many students are actively engaged in listening to jazz. This unit provides them with the opportunity to deepen their understanding and learn more about it.


★ Technology use-case example:


You can provide students with a basic rhythm chord progression as an audio file that they can import into GarageBand. They can then record their improvisation in the pentatonic scale. The Smart Scale option in GarageBand is particularly useful for this purpose.


This article presents another interesting lesson procedure from this unit. In this case, I have used ChatGPT to design an interactive activity for students.





Unit 4 - LogicProX Composing 2


In the final unit of grade eight, students continue their exploration of Logic Pro X and focus on the powerful virtual synthesizer called Alchemy. This instrument offers a wide range of sounds for students to incorporate into their projects. Additionally, students are provided with a small MIDI keyboard for input, enhancing their experience with Alchemy.


Students are not required to have knowledge of music theory or proficiency in performance. However, many of them may already play the piano and therefore have an understanding of what to do. Regardless, this step is truly interesting for everyone as they get to play, record, and edit music directly in the DAW.



view of iMac on the desk with mini midid keyboards in front
Mac Lab - place where magic happens


Grade 8 and overal curriculum outcome:


The completion of grade 8 marks the end of the students' middle school journey. Based on a survey conducted with the first generation of students, they expressed high satisfaction with the curriculum, particularly with the incorporation of technology.


Throughout the curriculum, students have gained a solid understanding of music elements, music history, and have developed basic ukulele performance skills. The main objective of the curriculum is to introduce students to technology through the use of devices like iPads and iMacs, as well as music software like GarageBand and LogicProX.


Conclusion


Looking back at the results and process of creating and implementing this unique music curriculum, I feel very satisfied. I will continue to improve the content, as there is always room for innovation.


I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt thanks to my colleague from the music department, Iñaki Pierola. Iñaki has been an invaluable partner in the creation of this curriculum, and his passion for music tech has greatly contributed to its development. I am grateful for his dedication and collaboration throughout this journey.


I hope you found value in this article. If you're interested in learning more about my curriculum or receiving updates on my upcoming content, please subscribe to my email list below.


Thank you for reading!





Commentaires


bottom of page