Learning to create digital art
Electronic Music is a new addition to the program of studies for the 2018-2019 school year. The class covers digital music creation, along with the skills needed to do so.
“We cover how to use the program GarageBand, basic composition skills, keyboard skills, and music theory,” Matthew Sullivan, LPHS teacher, said.
Electronic Music students are given many opportunities to be unique in their creations, as the majority of class time is independent study.
“The class is very project based. I think we spend about 70 percent of the time completing projects. The other 30 percent is instruction and discussion,” Sullivan said.
Even so, there is still a large sense of community and students are encouraged to interact with each other to create great music.
“Students create their own compositions and arrangements. They are able to share these with the class for comments. Leaving this class, students will be able to use the software with a solid foundation,” Sullivan said.
Students enjoy the atmosphere and overall procedure of the class.
“Electronic Music has been great as a creative outlet. Not only does Mr. Sullivan embrace this creativity through our assignments, but the environment is one of relaxation with a supportive, upbeat feeling where we all help each other out and give feedback,” Drew Lipscomb, junior, said.
The music technology lab was upgraded for this school year, including new iMacs and plenty of new, diverse software to allow students the best resources for their creations.
“We meet in the music technology lab. We use iMac computers with Garageband and another program that gives us thousands of loops and patches. Pretty much anything Logic Pro has, we have,” Sullivan said.
A large factor in creating any form of art is creativity. This skill is not one that a person can simply learn or acquire, but must be developed and worked on over long periods of time. Each individual has their own concept of it, allowing compositions to be unique and individualistic.
“Really, a lot of the learning we do cannot be written in a curriculum – you cannot teach creativity. Since the assignments and activities we do in Electronic Music are mostly open-ended, the goal is just to do that best that you personally are able to,” Lipscomb said.
One appealing quality of Electronic Music, in general, is the relative ease of creating content, something that both the students and instructor appreciate.
“It is very accessible to all students. There is no requirement to read traditional notation. Any student can take the class and be successful,” Sullivan said.
As for Mr. Sullivan’s experience with Electronic Music, he seems to have found some success, albeit somewhat suspicious.
“I cannot tell you my stage name, but I have been sued by T-Pain for artistic differences,” Sullivan said.
Currently, Electronic Music is only being taught during the first semester for 2018-2019, but more classes may be added for 2019-2020 depending on student interest.
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