Put Learners In The Drivers Seat

I use GarageBand for creating and capturing music almost daily. The interface is clean and I have become quite proficient with editing and manipulating audio. Usually, I am the one behind the computer pushing all of the buttons and making the technology a transparent piece of the music making. I need to be the one “driving” so the musicians can focus on the scenery more than the car controls. This year, after upgrading to Logic Pro X, my thinking has changed. Logic Remote is an iPad app for Logic Pro X on the Mac. Designed to provide new ways to record, mix, and even perform instruments in Logic Pro X from anywhere in the room. Turning your iPad into a keyboard, drum pad, guitar fretboard, mixing board, or transport control.


Download Logic Remote from the App Store here 

 Logic Remote can navigate inside Logic projects, control recording controls remotely, act as a second screen for the Mac, and also remotely trigger Logic Pro X key commands. The app also allows you to customizable buttons. Musicians can play instruments such as a piano keyboard, guitar fretboard, drum pads and drum kit. An awesome new feature is the addition of the Arpeggiator plugin to any instrument. Understanding that there are many ways of being musical has broadened my design of musical experiences. Experiencing audio is a unique way of being musical. I have accentually given the steering wheel (Logic Remote) to the musicians.


The above video is a beginning songwriting experience where a student musician is playing piano while other musicians are figuring out what can go with it. The pianist is playing a MIDI keyboard through Logic Pro X and another student is using the iPad with Logic remote to manipulate the controls. This has had quite an impact on the class culture. They have always taken ownership of their songs, but there has been a shift in the ownership of the craftsmanship. This became apparent to me when I gave the iPad to a student and we continued composing as a class. We stopped and discussed the harmonic progression. The class decided that the chords need to change at a different point in the melody. I asked the “engineer” to erase the track and take it back to the beginning. His reply was “Mr. M, I’m one step ahead of you.” Let them drive. You may find that they get there before you do.


There are devices and apps that scaffold independence. Logic Remote is one of those.

Graphically enhanced “How It Works” Manual 

Maker Movement: Step 1

There are many things that excite me about going back to school. This year, I am starting a new chapter in my career at a new school district. New possibilities, colleagues, students, classes, grade levels are just a few of the experiences I am looking forward to. I am also looking forward of introducing the Rock Our World (ROW) project to the administration, staff, and students this year. ROW has been connecting students and teachers to collaborate in composing original music, making movies, and meeting each other in live video chats since 2004. Using Apple’s GarageBand, each country (classroom) creates a 30 second drum beat.  Every Friday, that drum rotates to another country (classroom), where the bass guitar is added.  It keeps getting passed along, from classroom to classroom.  At each stop, one more instrument is added.  When it comes back to its original composer, it has touched students from all over the world. Students at Governors Bay School in New Zealand proposed this season’s topic!  For Season 19, will be creating artwork to decorate the halls of hospitals, senior centers and other facilities that need cheering up.


From left to right: Delaney Martin, Michael Medvinsky, Taylor Lee Shepherd

I am in my third season of Rock Our World an am very excited after the meeting I had today with Artists and Inventors Delaney Martin and Taylor Lee Shephard. The passion that was supporting these Artists vision was addictive. We talked for over an hour and a half, which flew by. Both Taylor and Delany conceptualized and constructed the Dithyrambalina project. The Music Box was Phase I in the Dithyrambalina project. This unique community artwork was built by 25 artists. Once open it was enjoyed, experienced and played by 15,000 visitors, held workshops for 500 students, and hosted 80 world-class musicians for orchestral performances that had audiences lining up around the block. The video below is some footage from the project.

Season 19 of Rock Our World’s Essential Question is “How do we use art to foster a positive environment?” The challenge is to create and install art on your local hospital, retirement community, or any community program to brighten up the environment.

My plan is to fuse these two projects to help create a Maker culture in my classroom. Rock Our World offers opportunities for learners to become members of a global classroom. Delany, Taylor and Dithyrambalina bring the vision of using conventional objects in nonconventional ways. Opening a mindset of possibilities will support student musicians to conceptualize, invent, create, fail, reevaluate, construct, and have an affect on their community.

The plan is to create a structure that people in the community can interact with in a musical way. The conceptualization, invention, construction and implementation will be completely up to the students. We will work with the artists and students in other schools, states and countries through video conferencing throughout.

The possibilities are endless. Create, invent, tinker.

Please read more about Taylor Lee Shepherd’s work here and Delaney Martin’s work here