15thMay. × ’07

I have little knowledge of elementary school music program experience other than my own, but I can speak with relative confidence that until recently computers were not involved. In fact it was only through divine providence that were ever blessed with so much as instruments. (These would inevitably be three-octave Casio keyboards with only a 50% operation rate)

With some curiosity I approached an article on C|NET about the growing field of music-making applications for the childrens. The article focuses on Sibelius’s latest addition to their Groovy line, aimed at nine to eleven-years-old with a hip-hop beat. (Don’t tell Samuel Adler.) One of the things that jumps out to me is that all the programs mentioned are made by companies whose bread and butter is notation programs. (MakeMusic, the main competition to the Sibelius’s Groovy line, is made by Finale)

At first blush I’d assume that music production methods (i.e. GarageBand, Live) would be a more obvious way to a kid’s heart. However looking back at the aforementioned misspent youth revealed an obsession with translating the written language of music into low-attention-span-ese. Those funny solfege hand positions were just part of the tradition that goes through shapenotes all the way back to Guido of Arezzo, and these programs are just an extension of that. Where this (theoretically) gets cool is by accentuating writing and much as reading. Has anyone actually had any hands on with this sort of stuff?

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