Lab Focus: Wantagh High School – Long Island, NY 6/1/2018

The 2017-2018 academic year has been an exciting one for the music department at Wantagh High School.

Their brand-new, state of the art 24+1 station music technology lab was installed by SoundTree the summer before, and the first year of its operation has been a tremendous success – to the point that they’re already working on an expansion to the music tech program. Throughout the school year, Wantagh music teacher Matt Carlin, and Fine & Performing Arts Supervisor Kelly Jones, have been working with SoundTree to design and install a professional-level recording studio this summer.

 

The music technology lab project began in the fall of 2016, as the brainchild of Kelly Jones and Wantagh’s Director of Technology, Penny Curry. Kelly and Penny knew that a significant portion of their district’s music students (as well as many of their non-music students) had shown interest in electronic music production. Many of their students were even composing their own music at home using their own devices and software. They knew that a music tech lab would provide an opportunity to help these students develop and nurture these skills, and grow their music department at the same time - so they contacted SoundTree for a consultation. After a few conference calls and an on-site meeting with a SoundTree Music Technology Specialist, their SoundTree Representative created a spec sheet, proposal, and room layout diagram based on their needs, which they used to present to their administration. Once the project was approved, installation and professional development training were scheduled, and the lab was installed in time for the new fall semester.

 

The lab includes Korg Krome 61-note keyboard workstations, iMac computers, Focusrite audio interfaces, and Omnirax custom lab furniture at each station, along with a full suite of music software for recording, notation, and music theory/ear training. All of this equipment is tied together by the Korg GEC5 system, which gives the teacher complete control of all the audio signals in the classroom, as well as the ability to differentiate instruction for students of various experience levels.

“The music lab has been a wonderful addition to both the middle school and high school.” Says Matt Carlin. Regarding the GEC5 system, “The ability to partner students and create groups allows for an extremely malleable classroom setting, and curriculum that caters to the student’s needs.”

“With our lab, we have been able to successfully update our general music and theory program using the software that SoundTree installed for us. Programs like Auralia, and Musition have been used consistently and have really developed efficiency in student learning.” Matt continued. “These classes do a remarkable job of teaching students about live sound, electrical signal, composition, and sound manipulation. The skill set they are receiving will be used in all facets of their future careers.”

The lab has brought a new level of student excitement to the music department; classes filled up right away for the 2018-19 school year, and students have begun staying after school to get more time in with the lab equipment. “Both classes are at capacity next year and there is a high demand to get into the room outside of the classroom setting.” Matt explains. “Students are being inspired to compose music, and edit other students work. We are thrilled with the work that SoundTree has done in developing this lab.”

 

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