What we've observed so far in what concerns artistic and cultural education in the Arab world, especially musical education, is that a lot of cultural as well as public institutions do fully understand the importance of it, as music does offer a lot of benefits beyond itself, but almost all fail to devise a suitable method to teach music to children in such a way that would attract their interest and ensure the continuity of the practice outside of the specified course hours.
Target groupsChange makers
The conclusions we draw is that if music is indeed very important for the cerebral, social, cultural, artistic and intellectual development of our young generations, then we should start thinking of new methods that are suitable to teach it for pure digital natives. And the method that we've tested and that yielded successful results is electronic music, to be considered not a genre of music, but as a pedagogical instrument and means of transmitting musical theory .
Electronic music works very well with a young public, for various reasons, such as : -There being a lot of fun to be drawn from making music using software (it almost resembles playing a video game) -It's easy and not expensive at all to instaure as a method, as all that is required is PCs and softwares -Just like video games, it can also be very addictive, which ensures the children to be more alert and analytical about their work -The results of composition are instant
The main problem that we tackle through this project is the one of artistic and cultural education of our rising arab generations. In Morocco for instance, very little importance is given to this field, especially in public schools, where our children receive almost no artistic discipline and are not initiated in any sort of way to the sector of arts and culture, which obviously leads eventually to their alienation from it altogether.
Which field and which area?
The field that this project intends to work on is the one of art and education. We believe that artistic practices should not be omitted from the education of our future arab generations, since art can indeed be of great value in sensitizing our children to very important issues that our arab nations are facing today. Besides, it also offers great opportunities of asserting one's self-value and can as well participate to bringing our children to a level of intellectual blooming.
Effects of the problem
The obvious effects that this problem is to have in the future is that we end up with generations of arabs who are entirely disinterested from arts and culture, or even more, generations that are entirely alienated altogether from the sector. If we do not start thinking today of efficient ways of introducing our children to cultural and artistic practices in such a way that they can associate with them while growing up, in no time our artistic production shall decline, or even worse, degenerate, our musuems and movie theaters will close down after the attendance rates go lower than we can afford (in many arab countries, it is already the case), our very cultural practices shall transform into habits of importing and copying what is happening in the occident, in stead of capitalizing on our cultural heritage and promoting our identity.
Our proposal is that electronic music courses should be implemented in most school and cultural centers dedicated to the youth, as it is very easy to put in place. All that is required is to equip the computers that most schools and cultural centers already dispose of in their media centers with the adequate software (DAW : Digital Audio Workstation), and let the children at play. The software are very easy to manipulate and the children can hear the results of their creations instantly.
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Pedagogy & methodology: We are currently working on a pedagogical booklet for the project Abtal Digital, and it is going to contain all the details and objectives of each session/number of sessions/material and software needed/games and energizers for the children, methodology, etc. This booklet is a synthesis of the conclusions that we drew so far from the workshops we've organized. Once this booklet is done, we are ready to share it with whoever is interested in taking part in the project.
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Preivous experiences: So far, our association has organized a good number of electronic music workshops for children, and we did find out that only during one week, by following our pedagogy that is based on an initiation to the theory of sound and experimentation with the software, children are entirely apt to start producing perfectly well-structured electronic music tracks. All of the children's works that we've harvested from the workshops are below :
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Implementation of the idea: The way we see it possible for the idea to widespread and gain in importance is thru following these steps: 1.Provide the people who are interested in taking part in the project with the pedagogical booklet and adequate training 2.Urge the project representatives to form partnerships with cultural associations who work with children to organize one-week workshops and achieve palpable results with the children 3. Based on the results, form more long-term partnerships.
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The softwares we use in this project, it is what is refered to as DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) The one we favour is Fruity Loops Studio. We like it because we find its interface to be very kid-friendly and its use very intuitive. The results have shown that the children love it too, and don't strugle so much at assimilating the various components of its interface. But of course, anyone who is interested in taking part in this project may use the software that they feel is most adequate and that they're most comfortable with. Other examples of DAWs that are pretty common to use: Ableton Live/Garage Band/Logic Pro/Bitwig/Studio One 3 No particular hardware is necessary to ensure the success of the course, except headsets for every kid, in order to make sure that they can hear their compositions. Another software that they may be used in stead of DAWs is Sonic Pi: its particularity is that you can compose with code, so the children can learn to code while also learning about music.