Steinberg Reference School
In April 2006 Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH has initiated a new pilot project for the music education sector in its home country of Germany. The Steinberg Reference School project is an initiative between the private and public sectors that aims to establish regional centers of excellence within the state school system in each German federal state. Each appointed school will become a reference platform for training and networking both music educators and students in the region and will offer new possibilities to learn, utilize and exploit the latest computer-based music composition and audio production techniques.
Through the scheme, each appointed Steinberg Reference School will become a focal point for music educators who want to receive additional information via seminars and hands-on workshops on how conventional musical lessons can be enriched and expanded when using the latest advances in computer-aided music and audio technology, including Steinberg’s recording software Cubase and its range of virtual instruments.
Steinberg Reference Schools are selected according to distinct criteria, including the development status of music within the school, technical infrastructure and availability of traditional musical instruments. Each Steinberg Reference School will be open as a training resource for all schools in the area that cannot afford this level of equipment, so that the teachers and pupils at other schools in the region have a way of completing digital audio projects. Another important function of each Steinberg Reference School is to offer a communication and information platform for all forms of educational facilities and their staff in the region. The aim here is to provide a way for educators to exchange information and practical experiences, their teaching methodologies in relation to audio software as well as to create and develop practical, hands-on examples of how to use digital audio software in the classroom.
“Dealing with computers and software is often easier for pupils and students than for the teachers themselves. It therefore makes sense to help remove obstacles for teachers in approaching music software and to offer practical and constructive ways of using these technologies within lessons,” says Steinberg’s Education Manager Lars Meding. ”Simply to work with software and all of its functions should neither be an end in itself nor the sole focus of advanced training, but rather it has to be understood as an important yet simple tool in an educational situation or as part of an overall teaching concept.”
First Steinberg Reference School Established
The first Steinberg Reference School has been established in the new music computer classroom at a comprehensive school located in the Horn area of Hamburg. Employing a network with a server PC as well as six PC workstations, the new facilities were opened on April 6th 2006 to a large audience comprising music teachers from the area, representatives from the music press and education publishers, as well as officials from Germany’s leading music teaching organizations and the regional government. This high profile opening was seen as being of particular significance because Hamburg-Horn is perhaps better known for its difficult social climate than for its educational initiatives; a positive signal encompassing new opportunities for expression and community development.
Under the auspices of the new scheme, the school has been equipped by Steinberg with a special software package including Cubase SE, WaveLab Essentials and Virtual Instruments Collection, plus MI4 audio interfaces for all workstations. Steinberg’s entire product range of software tools was permanently installed on the server PC, creating a training center for computer-based music production, which is closely allied to the extensive range of traditional music instruments already available at the school. The initiative couples the new software with the ready availability and close proximity of both practice rooms and acoustic instruments. Music sessions can be easily recorded and subsequently mixed at the computer stations.
"This is a very good way of attracting pupils who aren't able to play an instrument to music lessons,” states Lars Meding. “They are able to play a key part in the creative process, playing virtual instruments or loops via MIDI keyboards, or working on finalizing the recording session. All of these are vital components in contemporary music production, especially seeing as the computer is rapidly becoming the center of a multi media studio in schools. Steinberg strongly believes that the ability to make music can also be a force for social good by fostering both intelligence and communication skills.
Pupils and students can therefore now produce their own audio and music projects on CD ROMs in a school environment. At the same time the music computer facilities are also suited to advanced training for music teachers and/or students from other schools and universities who want to learn modern music technology or find approaches to applying digital audio production in a familiar classroom environment.
A further goal of the new project is to help prepare the teachers of tomorrow in terms of getting in touch with music technology and software. "We will announce more reference schools in each German federal region, with further plans to extend this network worldwide, and aim to establish closer networks between universities and all public and private key institutions and associations in the field of music education,” concludes Lars Meding. Steinberg Reference School projects are supported through public or private sponsors.