Tech-based band introduces kids to playing music with iPads

- If you walk past the auditorium in Sanders Memorial Elementary in Land O' Lakes, you might think the school has a full band. Music blasts through the hallways during rehearsal.

But if you take a closer look, you won't find any instruments. What you will see is students tapping away on iPads.

Music teacher James Coyne directs Sanders' iPad Band.

"The kids love it because it’s different. Our school is all about being different and trying new things," says Coyne.

This year is fifth-grader Carsen Smith's second in the band.

"At first I thought, 'Why would they have that?' People just think you are touching a button and that's not what it is. You’re actually learning the beats, the rhythms, the chords of the song," he explains.

Using the app Garage Band, students hook up to a soundboard and rock out to popular hits.

Coyne says it brings classroom excitement to another level.

"[They are] really into what they are doing, very focused, there's so much energy, so much passion, so much emotion coming through it," he said.

He says the program serves as a musical stepping stone, intriguing kids to pick up traditional instruments.

"The old traditional ways in music are still good, but there are so many modern ways of introducing technology and using that as a tool to inspire more kids to join in music," says Coyne.

Fourth-grader Annaleigh Quinlan tried playing the ukulele before but says it didn't go very well. The iPad Band, however, has given her the confidence to keep pursuing music.

"I love technology, so when I heard about the iPad Band I was really excited because I wanted to learn music," says Quinlan.

Mr. Coyne says music programs around the country are starting to take notice. He expects the idea to soon take off, due, in part, to shrinking budgets for music programs around the country.

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