Music Education with Soundbrenner Pulse: Teaching Modern Music with a Metronome
We’ve seen how young students in the classical repertoire, from violinists to classical guitarists, enjoy the use of Soundbrenner Pulse to learn rhythm. Francis Ajiteru, the owner of Fleetwood Academy of Modern Music, proves that rhythm is just as important for everyone including young musicians studying modern music. In our interview, he shares his experience and tips for education professionals to teach modern music.
It’s been a decade since Francis started his music school in a small coastal town of Lancashire. But before having his own business, he worked with bigger schools teaching popular instruments like guitar, ukulele, and bass as well as running music projects.
“I liked the opportunities schools offer to students and started taking parts in classroom music teaching and some extracurricular music activities. I teach various levels and set up my music school to focus on modern and popular music.”
For Francis, finding out his student’s interest is his top priority. He mentions that exposing the students to different styles is a good practice for teachers if the student takes some interest in a specific style then look it over in more detail.
“If you try to feed them your music, it might be difficult to motivate them no matter how good your intentions are.”
For some students, it is rather the lack of confidence that keeps them from developing their full potential. “Support them to come out of their shell. Give the students enough exposure on stage performance and let them cooperate with other young musicians. Encourage them to be creative by guiding them on their music compositions and songwriting.
Common challenges of teaching music to young students
The biggest challenge is that there are too many options available for students to put in their time and effort. And they expect themselves to be good at music right away, if they see that their progression is too slow they’ll only give themselves a limited time to learn it and move on to a different interest or join a different club.
“Modern technology and gaming can take a large chunk of their time and quite often has priority before music-making or practice.”
Listening to the student is important. When the students see you are helping them with their specific genre and interest, then they’ll be motivated to pursue music.
Teaching with a Metronome
Francis uses click tracks and a metronome to teach young bands. He finds that students put in a little bit more effort in learning the song pieces better, just so they can follow the beat given by the metronome.
“I find that apart from keeping everyone in time, it brings focus to their rehearsals and performances.”
Students react to Soundbrenner Pulse
“All of them (the students) reacted very positively. Some of them struggled to keep the right pace at the start but got used to it after a few attempts. Students were inclined to purchase a Soundbrenner Pulse after the lesson.”
A creative way to teach rhythm
Other than the Soundbrenner Pulse, Francis finds other creative ways to teach, such as using color-coding with keyboards, which he also matches with the LED light colors on the Pulse. In different practice sessions, he would set a different color for the first beat. The younger ones love this exercise.
Easy access to song pieces
“All my drummers now can store the songs” they are learning through the Metronome App made by Soundbrenner. The Song List allows them to bring up the songs quickly and practice at the right speed.”
Working towards a challenging tempo
Besides getting more inclined to learning a piece with a metronome, students can use it as a great practice tool. They slow down the tempo of the pieces during the practice and then they slowly work towards the original tempo.
Linking devices together
Francis finds the Pulse most effective during one-on-one practice sessions.
“With two units, I can use one and the student the other one. It is a must for a teacher to have his own. Otherwise, he can’t feel the tempo himself and it is harder to monitor the student’s accuracy. You’ll find that you can’t even count them in without it.”
With just two units, Francis also tried to teach a band as well. Although it was a challenge he gave it a try. He gave one to the drummer and a bass player in the band and they led the whole band.
His final verdict on using the Pulse for Music Education
Compared to a traditional metronome the Soundbrenner Pulse “is more effective. It is much more versatile and goes along with 21st-century technology development. The students see it as a modern and very cool feature that is easy to incorporate into their daily routine.”
As a high school music teacher Francis has a standard class of 25 students, 2 days a week. He later adds, that he is positive with what the Pulse can do for his students.
“It would definitely help my students in practical situations. It also helps understand the basic music rhythm and pulse related theory eg. time division, time signatures, etc. Using Pulse means doing it in a fun and creative way.”
Francis mentions that it takes time to master the Pulse. He eventually finds it worth while after seeing the students’ enthusiasm for this music tool.
“I would recommend every teacher to play with the settings a lot. Test it on yourself before you put it on a child because the students will have a lot of questions about it. Students tells you how they feel about the device and as a teacher you have to step in and change the setting for the benefit of the student.”
Francis Ajiteru started Fleetwood Academy of Modern Music almost a decade ago. Students can join pop and rock band sessions. On top of teaching popular instruments at his school, Francis Ajiteru leads various music projects in different schools all over Lancashire meeting over 300 students every week.
Designed to help make music-learning easier, Soundbrenner Pulse helps students and aspiring musicians to stay focused on what truly matters: their music. Interested in integrating the Soundbrenner Pulse into your classroom? Click here to see our Educational Discount.
Got a question about the Soundbrenner Pulse? Reach out to us at [email protected], we’re happy to help!