Effective use of ICT in Music Teaching – Case study
Esther Squibb, Ringwood Junior School, 2nd March 2007
1. Setting the scene
The focus for the lesson with year 6 pupils was using Dance eJay for Schools to select and order
sounds, creating a clear ABA structure. The lesson started with a brief discussion referring to
examples previously demonstrated in the classroom and summarising the work done in previous
lessons when pupils had been asked to create an introduction for their music and then themes A
and B. During the lesson the pupils were asked to develop their compositions using an ABA
structure and then appraise them making improvements and considering how to finish.
This lesson, led by the class teacher, was the fourth in a series of ten exploring using ICT to
capture, change and combine sounds. This music unit of work is called Using ICT to capture,
change and combine sounds to create own compositions. Pupils are required to compose a piece
of music for an aerobics class with an ABA structure including an introduction and ending.
This unit is one of a new, recently introduced, series of units using ICT to enhance musical
teaching and learning. Although this is the first time these pupils have used ICT in music, future
year groups will benefit from starting to use eJay in year 5 and using Super Dooper Music
Looper in years 3 and 4.
Ringwood Junior School is situated in a mixed lower and middle class area. No traveller children
attend the school and the number of children receiving a free school dinner is minimal.
There were 32 pupils in the observed class. The lesson was delivered by the class teacher who is
the school music coordinator and a music AST.
3. Planning: objectives
The learning objectives for the unit were:
To develop an understanding of ABA structure
To identify a wider range of instruments and ensemble combinations
To explore and develop rhythmic material using ICT
To use ICT to capture, change and combine melodic sequences
To explore and develop melodic material using ICT
To use ICT to emulate vocal sounds
To explore, develop and use special effects in composition
The pupils used Dance eJay for Schools to select and combine sounds. They also appraised and
changed sound combinations. Developed and improved sound sequences were saved in
preparation for adding vocal effects and changing sounds using the virtual effects feature during
The medium term plan outlines the linked music and ICT learning objectives. Progressive
activities are described but not allocated to specific weeks, therefore allowing the pupils to
progress at their own pace. ICT activities are used to develop the pupils’ understanding of
structuring sounds for a specific musical purpose. Tasks were well matched to pupil’s abilities.
The children worked in mixed ability pairs. Pupils who found the task challenging were
supported by their peers or the class teacher. The more able pupils progressed at a faster pace
through the planned activities.
4. Planning: resources
Dance eJay for Schools was used. The lesson took place in one of the school’s two computer
areas. This was situated in a communal area of the school within a wide corridor. Pupils wore
headphones (using double head phone splitters) and worked in pairs. Although computers were
in close proximity to each other and situated in a busy area the pupils were clearly used to
working in this environment and focussed on the machine they were using, occasionally sharing
ideas with a neighbour.
The classroom whiteboard and teacher’s laptop are sometimes used for demonstration purposes
before coming to the computer suite – this had taken place during an earlier part of the day.
5. Learning and teaching
Activities had been clearly modelled by the class teacher using the classroom whiteboard earlier
in the day. On arriving in the computer suite the class was given a verbal reminder of what to do.
The pupils were then given time to develop their already started compositions further, supported
by their class teacher. At the end of the session one example of pupils’ work was shared; positive
comments were made by the teacher concerning the sounds chosen and the structure of the
Activities planned for pupils included developing their pieces using an ABA structure, appraising
and improving their work and considering how to finish their compositions.
Future planned activities include adding emulated vocal sounds and using the effects studio
feature to further develop their compositions.
Pupils were keen to use the ICT. Both pupils in each pair were equally engaged, pupils took turns
in operating the mouse and all developments were discussed.
The teacher had previously modelled activities (using the whiteboard in her classroom); she
supported the children once the task had been set, moving between all the groups, and invited
children to demonstrate their work at the end of the lesson (this was done using their own
machine). Constructive feedback was given.
6. Assessing pupil learning
Ringwood Junior School has an established policy of partner response and pupils being actively
involved in setting their own learning targets. This was evident during the observed lesson and
pupil’s constantly appraised their work throughout the task. . By the end of the lesson all the
pupils had had the opportunity to use an ABA structure to develop their composition. Work was
saved for future use and as a record of achievement.
7. Evaluating teaching
ICT provided opportunities to select, order, appraise and improve sounds for a specific musical
purpose. Pupils were able to work in pairs making creative choices about structuring their
compositions. The visual nature of the software helped to develop pupil’s structural
understanding. Motivation was high – the children thoroughly enjoyed using ICT in this context.
Clear links were made between ICT vocabulary and music vocabulary e.g. loop and ostinato,
hence supporting and developing the understanding of both.