Time-Tested Exemplary Music and Audio Tech

Five Music and Audio Tech Exemplars and Resources

By Lee Whitmore

This blog is sponsored by NAfME Corporate member Focusrite

It has been more than 30 years since I started actively teaching and training music educators about how to integrate music and audio technologies in their classrooms and districts. In the world of music education technology over that time period, a lot has changed, and a lot has not. And, things that work keep working.

For example, there are literally millions of students who have and continue to make and create music using MIDI, or the Musical Instrument Digital Interface. Did you know that MIDI turns 40 this year? While MIDI is just rolling out its version 2.0 after four decades, if you or your students have used a computer and music creation software with an electronic musical instrument, MIDI was almost certainly used—maybe without your or your students ever thinking about it.

female student composing using audio tech

iStockphoto.com | M-Production

Good music teaching has a lot in common with MIDI. If it’s well grounded in standards yet flexible, it stands the test of time, and great things happen for students. And it’s not dependent on any specific new technology, just great teaching and instruction.

Whether you use music and audio technology regularly, or are thinking about how to create or grow a program, here’s a list of five music and audio tech exemplars and resources I absolutely love and share regularly:

  1. Just Do It—Make Music: My early fascination with music and audio continues today. It equalizes the playing field for your students. They are drawn to it, and when available, students just jump in and create. And they can easily share what they create with others, and take their music home. Here’s a case study about Dr. Milton Ruffin and Ryan Van Bibber’s program at the Fort Hayes Metroplitan Education Center in Columbus, Ohio, where students make, create, compose, perform, and make music every day.
  2. Students Going to College Need Tech Skills: Whether your students will graduate from your high school program and go to a conservatory, study music education, or study in most any other professional field, they all need to know how to use technology for audio and music. Here’s a case study about how Barbara Freedman has developed a best-in-class technology-based program serving students heading off to college at Greenwich High School, Connecticut.
  3. Career Pathways in Music and Audio through CTE: Career and technical education (CTE) in the United States receives more than $6B each year from the federal government. The best music and audio tech programs in CTE include hands-on training, professional certifications, internships, and a lot more. Check out Mark Beckett’s program at Donald M. Payne Sr. School of Technology in Newark, New Jersey, and Luis Rodriguez’s program at Lawndale High School in Lawndale, California.

    MIDI closeup

    Photo by Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash

  4. Music and Audio Tech Teaching Resources Abound: Have you checked out what the Technology Institute for Music Educators (TI:ME) and InTune Monthly have to offer? TI:ME offers professional development resources and events each school year, and InTune Monthly offers monthly content for teachers and students, and an annual buyers’ guide for music educators.
  5. Organizations That Help: In addition to the National Association for Music Education’s (NAfME) and TI:ME’s abundant music and audio tech resources and conference events, check out NAMM’s annual conference (this year, 2023 in April in Anaheim) which includes Music Education Days, and MusicFirst’s “Profiles in Teaching with Technology,” with host Jim Frankel.

About the author:

Lee Whitmore headshot

Dr. Lee Whitmore is a music, audio, creative digital media, and education thought leader. He’s the Vice President for education at Focusrite Group, which includes Focusrite, Novation and Ampify Music, Sequential and Oberheim, ADAM Audio, Martin Audio and Optimal Audio, Linea Research.

With a career that spans three decades, his professional assignments have included leadership positions at music industry companies Avid, Sibelius, and Korg USA, as well as the GRAMMY Music Education Coalition and Berklee College of Music. He has a doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College in music education and technology. Because music has dramatically affected his personal life and career, Lee is a vocal advocate for access to music and related arts for all young people.

Lee is an author, educator, public speaker, and industry and education executive. His recent writing includes pieces for the Inter-American Development Bank, the Hechinger Report, and the Washington Post.

Active in service to music, community, and education, Lee is a Beats By Girlz board member, an executive board member of The MIDI Association, also serving as its volunteer chief financial officer, and leading its MIDI in Music Education (MiME) Special Interest Group. He is also an advisory board member for the Bob Moog Foundation and the Richmond Symphony School of Music.

Contact Lee at lee.whitmore@focusritegroup.com.

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The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.

March 16, 2023. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)

April 2024 Teaching Music

Published Date

March 16, 2023


  • Classroom Management
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March 16, 2023. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)

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