Innovative Teaching Techniques

Mu-sic [myoo-zik]


           1. An art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color.


A teaching practice that includes hands on experience with computers, innovative tools, devices, drum pads and keyboards used to entertain and engage students is needed to establish well-rounded music students. Statistics show that more than 50% of students no longer enroll in traditional music programs after the 7th grade. It is time for educational models to consider the importance of student involvement in music educational programs and individual expression in order to maintain music as an important part of student’s High School education. How can teachers stimulate students in classrooms? How can teachers become more involved? Ones knowledge of music technologies seems to be the appropriate answer.

Teachers can and should stimulate student’s imagination with hands on technology and equipment that supports an electronic music curriculum. Modern electronic music focused on the creation of music using innovative tools while incorporating traditional music methods is in every modern music genre and many traditional music forms. Surprising to many music teachers, the basic elements of music are the roots to the creation of music with the assistance of a computer. Modern electronic music is a true example of old meets new.

The sounds, melodies and harmony of percussion, brass and wind instruments cannot exclusively be created by using tubas, oboes, and violins; they can also be created using virtual instruments. At the student level, striking pads on an electronic instrument, such as Icon Digital’s iPad, a personal drum pad, results in the same sounds as striking a cymbal or strumming a guitar in the student’s headphones. Virtual instruments reside in computers and are supported through digital audio workstations, or DAWs, and other more musician-specific user interfaces.  Computer programs allow users to record, edit, mix and add effects to these instruments, creating an entire virtual orchestra, jazz band or Drum Core. This ability alone grows excitement in students worldwide. The reaction to these tools proves that modern music and innovation is intriguing.

The art of sound has been altered to accompany the growth of music throughout the years. With basic elements of music theory shaping electronic music programs student interests have spiked. The use of innovative tools in classrooms is the next step towards keeping the interest in music programs after 7th grade. The use of a percussion pad controller ranging from small, finger-drum pads to full-size drum kits with simulated drum head and cymbals won’t only keep the attention of students; it can teach students the same elements and principals as a lesson in percussion.  As an added benefit to the student’s parents, these virtual instruments can be quietly practiced at home through the use of headphones or small computer speakers.

The most common innovate tool used in the field of electronic music is a keyboard. Music educators developing new teaching methods for a curriculum in modern music need to take into consideration space and time. Workstation space that creates hands on activity, without overwhelming students in classrooms is critical. Keyboard controllers feature velocity sensitivity to mimic the behavior of a piano, and some feature after-touch to mimic the pressure sensitivity of an organ. Icon’s Logicon6 keyboard is a single unit that provides users with 61 keys, 8 trigger pads and octave and pitch selection. While using this single tool students will gain a wide range of knowledge in percussion, harmony, melodies and music theory.

It is no secret that music has a history of shaping a life of intelligence. Albert Einstein played piano to help him through difficult points in his theories, Galileo can thank music for many of his discoveries in physics and Thomas Jefferson called music “this favorite passion of my soul.” Music has the ability to spark creativity and genius in individuals. The opportunity to enhance music education and individual expression is now. Educational models need to consider electronic music as a stepping stone towards this generation of genius. Like all things that grow and change the underlying elements remain traditional, the beat stays the same the characteristics of the instrument just change.

Music educators have the responsibility to enthuse, inspire, direct and shape students. Consider incorporating electronic music in your music education curriculum as inspiration for students to regain the cooperation, desire and enthusiasm in the classroom.

To help wrap minds around the idea of electronic music teaching traditional music methods please visit for a video demonstration of these innovative tools.


Copyright 2013 Icon Digital USA.

May not be reprinted without the written consent of Icon Digital USA.

Icon Kidz Program and Our First Icon Kid

ICON Digital USA has been very busy over the past ten months building the ICON brand here in the United States.  In that time, we have had the privilege of meeting many talented Kidz. Those Kidz had us wondering; what we can do to highlight this talent?  How can we give our youth that well-deserved recognition and encourage them to never let go of their passion?

Turning our words to concrete action, we are pleased to announce ICON Digital USA’s newest program, ICON Kidz!  “Because music starts small…”

ICON has a history of collaborating with schools and universities; offering solutions to declining arts and music budgets.  This new program expands on those relationships.  We are thrilled to extend our program to the younger set. We pride ourselves on helping students find their voice in the music community, or continue to pursue their passion for the arts.  This program complements our existing “Encourage the Arts,” and “Learn & Earn” programs.  (click here for details). 

This is our first iteration of this program, and we expect to learn a lot during the process. We are committed to this program and updating it as we learn over time. There is a very good chance we will make mistakes in our first implementations of this program, but we will do our best to keep it aligned with the interests of all concerned.  If we find that this program is successful in incentivizing great music from our youth, we intend to increase the frequency as we continue to grow.

Our further goal is to create a borderless music community - to generate close and meaningful exchange between the participants, building a network of new friends with a common purpose (music appreciation and creating art) across the country.

If you know someone that you believe is the perfect Icon Kid, send a short email to telling us why you think so.  We will select the best of the bunch and give them the recognition they deserve.

In searching for our first Icon Kid, we quickly realized that the most qualified candidate was right in our backyard.

Josh Brent has the background, passion and talent.

Meet Josh Brent



Study: Want Your Baby to Smile More? Make Music Together

PROBLEM: Previous studies have suggested that musical training helps children's development. It remains unknown, however, how early and to what extent this experience can have a positive effect.

METHODOLOGY: McMaster University psychologists led by Laurel Trainor assigned groups of parents and babies, who had shown similar communication and social development, in one of two types of weekly music instruction for six months. One music class involved interactive music-making as well as learning a small set of lullabies, percussion instruments, nursery rhymes, and songs with actions. In the other class, babies and their parents simply played at various toy stations while recordings from the popular Baby Einstein series were in the background.

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