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Dobbs Ferry Teacher Uses Technology to Teach Music

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – Springhurst Elementary music teacher Vi Taylor embraces the technologically forward Dobbs Ferry School District by utilizing computer programs to help teach her students the sounds of music.

“I have designed a track and I am having the kids identify the sounds,” Taylor said.  “They need to discover what instrument it is. We’re basically working on their listening skills.”

In her lesson plans, Taylor plays music featuring various instruments that she edited and put together herself.  Using the audio editing program Garage Band, Taylor is able to splice up the sounds of different instruments and put them in whatever order she chooses. This also allows her to isolate various instrument solos to help emphasize the sounds to students. While this is all happening Taylor assigns different movements for students as they identify each instrument.

“When that solo instrument comes up everybody else freezes and that row has to do that movement,” she said. “So they have to be thinking about what’s the movement, is it my turn or am I supposed to freeze? It sharpens their listening skills.”

Taylor said she learned how to use the program after taking a class at Central Connecticut State University tailored to it.  As a final project for the class, Taylor needed to put together a lesson plan utilizing the program. Her instructor, Scott Watson, was so impressed by the lesson plan that he included it in his recently published book “Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity.”

Taylor got her teaching degree from Boston University, but wasn’t always sure if she wanted to be a teacher.

“I was a singer and had a group and performed for many years and in 1987 I opened up a recording studio in New York City and I had that until about 2004, but in 2002 I came back to teaching and I absolutely love it and wish I had come back sooner,” she said.

The positive reactions she receives from students and parents alike are what make Taylor love her job.

“I really enjoy putting music underneath kids’ skin, starting them out on the right track and making music be a part of their life in a positive way,” she said.

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