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Learning composition with Music Delta

Anders Kallevik teaches 10th grade math, music and social studies at Olsvik school; a combined elementary and high school in Laksevåg, Norway. When teaching music he uses Music Delta; a fun, interactive application for teaching music history, theory and appreciation. Available in both English and Norwegian; it contains courses, tests and a database of songs within many genres - from classical to contemporary. It also includes a great tool for remixing music, called MasterMixer.

Anders and his students (Photographer: Marit Hommedal)

Anders and his students use Music Delta as an application within itslearning, which provides them with many benefits. The app remembers everything they’ve done; the music they’ve created, the chapters they’ve read, the questions they’ve answered, etc. Music Delta allows students to learn at their own pace and repeat sections as needed, which promotes individualised learning. Anders can log in as an administrator and check each student’s profile to view their progress.

In Anders’ opinion, composition training is Music Delta’s best feature. Students can re-record vocals, remix tracks and rearrange the structure of each song in the database. Work is saved on a cloud-based server which allows students to store up to ten songs of five minutes each. Music Delta and itslearning can be accessed from anywhere, so students can begin a composition at school, continue at a friend’s house and finish at home. 

The app provides students with links to each composition, allowing them to share their creations with fellow students or post them to social media sites. These links can be easily added to itslearning assignments and submitted to teachers:

Above is a screenshot (in Norwegian) of an assignment containing a Music Delta song link

When compositions files are opened, they display drum, bass, guitar, etc. in individual tracks:

Anders’ students really enjoy Music Delta and they often ask to use it. “We composed for an entire month last year. Our next assignment will be to combine pop and classical music within one song. In the past we’ve had projects that combined English and Music classes – students had to write a rap song in English class and record a background for it in Music class,” he explains.

Anders sometimes embeds student compositions into discussion threads and asks his pupils to comment on each other's music. He posts outstanding student compositions on his course bulletin board. Here's an example of how that might look:

Each time Anders’ students finish a Music Delta session, they fill out a log in their itslearning Working Portfolio detailing what they’ve done, who they worked with and any questions they have. Anders reviews each student’s log, answers their questions and writes helpful comments whenever necessary. 

Anders said that in Norway, a third of each student’s music grade is based on composition. “Before computers were introduced to Norwegian schools, music and composition were taught using instruments like recorders and xylophones; not the kind of music you meet out in the real world”. With Music Delta, students can compose the type of music they hear on the radio. “It’s more efficient and sounds good immediately, with just a couple of clicks of the mouse.”

To read more about Music Delta please visit the Music First website.

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