Another Perspective: The iPad Is a REAL Musical Instrument, by David A. Williams
Williams, D. A. (2014). Another Perspective The iPad Is a REAL Musical Instrument. Music Educators Journal, 101 (1), 93-98.
This article, written by David Williams, offers a glimpse of the use of an iPad as a musical instrument. He focuses on how he utilizes this electronic resource and implements it into his ensemble to offer more possibilities for playing music. Williams also provides his own insight on how an iPad can be accepted as a musical instrument and how it can create a change in music education.
Within the article, Williams emphasizes how he uses iPads to create music in his ensemble. His ensemble, aptly named Touch, uses a variety of apps in order to create various sounds and effects that can imitate those sounds made by traditional musical instruments. He often recounts many of his experiences with the ensemble to show how versatile the iPads are capable of when creating music. This had me interested in the things that he and his ensemble do while practicing and performing their works. I feel that this is a good example of how educators can start stepping outside of the traditional pedagogy of teaching and start to infuse their creativity into the classroom.
Of course, there is the argument that an iPad can’t be considered a musical instrument by Western-style music standards. Williams counters this by using the definition of a musical instrument, saying that a musical instrument is “a device used to produce music.” (94) While it does not visually look like a proper device for a musician, an iPad can create a variety of sounds that are produced by many different instruments. I agree with Williams in saying that iPads can be considered musical instruments when used in the right context. These tablets can offer a gateway into breaking free from the Eurocentric pedagogy of music education and explore other types of musical genres with different instruments from the tablets.
In all, I would say that many of the things that Williams discusses are things to consider when implementing iPads into the classroom. They can serve as tools for many purposes, including sounds for a musical ensemble. Williams seems to have made an effort to implement electronic devices for a good use in school, and as a result, he has taken a risk in adding creativity into his pedagogy as the leader of a music ensemble. I hope that future educators of music look to this as an example to become resourceful within ensembles to produce a higher caliber of music.
What Would I Ask The Author?
- Experimenting with music through iPads seems very risky. Was there any criticism from your colleagues or principle about your ensemble?