Bright Future: Students learn to make ‘iMusic’

Published 12:07 am Thursday, December 15, 2011

ROD GUAJARDO | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Quintai Newbill, left, and Naterra Johnson create a song using an iPad 2 as part of a special program at Ferriday Junior High School to teach students how to technology and education can be used to make music.

FERRIDAY — A smooth beat echoed in the back corner of the Ferriday Junior High School library, as sixth graders David Humphrey and Douglas Taylor prepared to lay down their vocal track.

“It’s a dude named David, it’s your boy named Doug and we’re chillin’ in the library with some hot new iPads,” sang the duo.

The students were participating in a program organized by sixth-grade math teacher Megan Powell, whose husband, Stephen Powell, is the associate pastor of worship and creative ministries at First Baptist Church in Vidalia.

Megan coordinated the musical program with librarian Lynn Paul.

The musical lesson showed how math is involved with music and gave the students a crash course to the iPad program GarageBand, which allows users to create music with a variety of instruments, vocals and effects.

Paul received 18 iPad 2s for an information sciences course she teaches, but said the tablets can be used by other teachers and students.

“They’re really nice to have because they’re small and the kids can engage with them easily,” Paul said. “We’re trying to find apps to use and work on incorporating them into different lesson plans.”

Megan said she knew several students in her classes were interested in music and thought the iPads would be the best way to engage the students.

“They grew up in a technology age, so they catch onto that quicker than when they read or write something, because they’ve been exposed to that since they were born,” Megan said. “We hope one day it will inspire them to want to learn more about music and technology.”

Stephen said his main goal is to show the children that music can positively affect their lives and educations.

“I think their education can be improved through technology,” Stephen said. “The ultimate goal is for them to be educated, but if this is a means to get them educated, then I think we should explore it.”

While the lesson was the first time tinkering with an iPad for many students, Taylor said he has some experience with the Apple tablet.

“My grandparents have an iPad and they let me use it a lot,” Taylor said. “I have some music on there, but at the same time I always delete them because I’m trying to get new ideas and keep it fresh.”