Make Technology Instrumental, Part 1

Should teachers embrace technology without reservation or with caution? NAfME member Fred Kersten had compiled his “Ten Techmandments for Technology Inclusion in the Music Classroom” to help ensure music instruction remains the guiding force:

  1. Emphasize “technology to teach music” and not “music to teach technology.” Music learning and making is the top priority, and computer and software use is secondary.
  2. Follow the National Standards in determining what technology you need in your music program. Singing, playing, listening, creating, and moving are good general headings for developing curricula to integrate with music technology.
  3. Keep parents posted on how you’re using technology and how they can help. Develop a music department Web site, advertise it to parents, and keep it current.
  4. Look for Internet sites that can support your National Standards guidelines for integrating technology. See the resources below for a few of the many Internet sites that can enhance your instruction.
  5. Begin with an area of your curriculum you know well. Find ways for technology to support and enhance the topic and to help student better understand it. Compare and assess student learning with and without using technology. Did students achieve at a higher rate with technology? What about student motivation?

Kersten’s Suggested Resources

Music Technology Standards–NAfME Opportunity-To-Learn Standards for Music Technology.

Technology Inclusion Ideas and Information

  • Amy M. Burns, President of TI:ME and an elementary music teacher, has ideas for including music technology in the classroom at
  • Use the listserv, open to members and nonmembers, of the Association for Technology in Music Instruction (ATMI) . Listserv participants can inquire, share, and receive advice on technology from many of the best technologist/educators in the world. Under development is a new ATMI Technology Wiki with a searchable database of thousands of software/hardware products for music instruction.
  • Find articles and courses on using music technology at The Technology Institute for Music Educators (TI:ME). TI:ME members also have access to lesson plans and an active online discussion group, where teachers share and discuss new advents in music technology and teaching
  • Find lesson plans and suggestions for technology in the classroom and new developments in music technology hardware and software from NAfME corporate member SoundTree. Learn more about other NAfME corporate members.

Sites To Enhance Instruction

  • Find interactive music activities, many that support the National Standards, at The New York Philharmonic Kids Zone.
  • Check out interactive music games at Morton Subotnick’s Creating Music.
  • Use listening experiences to complement National Standards objectives at Classics for Kids.
  • Students can mix music using sounds from around the world at PBSKids’ Global Groovin.

Fred Kersten is a veteran public school and college music teacher who has taught music in the New York public schools, at the Crane School of Music, and online for Boston University. He is a professional recorder player and wrote the MENC book Teaching Recorder in the Music Classroom. He provides more resources on his Web site.


–Linda C. Brown, September 16, 2009, © National Association for Music Education (