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Developing Musicianship through Apps

By Meadow Hilley
Developing Musicianship through Apps

When Mark Elshout, a music teacher with 16 years of experience, took a position at Osaka International School in Japan, he was prepared to integrate iPad technology in the music classroom but found the available material somewhat wanting.
A number of existing apps turn the iPad into an instrument, but his room was well equipped in that department. Other apps allow users to record, which is useful enough, but hardly innovative. Still others can turn the device into a tuner or a metronome, instruments readily available to Mark's students in their traditional forms.
If the parents had been asked to purchase iPads, Mark felt a responsibility to put them to good use. He set about building custom iPad-based activities for his students and developing a library of resources for use by fellow music teachers.
Last May, Mark’s first app became available online, designed with an eye to learning outcomes, collaborative learning, and modified learning. Given the proliferation of iPhones among his students, he went on to produce versions of his first and successive apps modified for that particular medium.
His Bingo App (available at is pedagogy at its most playful, and can easily be adapted to other subject areas, such as mathematics.
“I am excited by the prospects of just how far this can go,” Mark said, “and I am pleased to say that I am winning the enthusiasm of my students by utilizing a device they love to play with in a way that benefits their learning of music.”
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