Student Projects (or, Why I Love Teaching)

So, today is the end of the Spring semester at APU, and I’m in the midst of grading final projects for my students. Today is one of those days where I realize that I could do this for the rest of my life.

I teach Music Technology, which is ostensibly about teaching students how to be mini-geeks, but in reality, it’s a clever ruse for me to get to teach them about composition, orchestration, physics, philosophy, production, collaboration, asthetics, and how to use their brain in sticky ways.

Here’s why I love today. I get to see how they take everything I’ve taught them, and put it all together in one project. They write original music (or do take-downs of existing pop songs), and create full demos of them, with audio tracking, editing, mixdown, the whole deal. I was blown away by the maturity that these 19-year-old students are already showing in their creative work, and so, like a proud teacher, I’m going to brag on them a bit.

You should head on over to this post on my course site, and listen to the Hall of Fame, the best projects from each class as voted on by the students. Remember that, for most of them, the first time they touched Logic Pro was 4 months ago.

I think they would be thrilled if some of you wanted to stop by and listen, and maybe leave some feedback in the comments section.

11 thoughts on “Student Projects (or, Why I Love Teaching)

  1. Sharolyn

    Is it just me, or has the bar been completely raised since we were at APU ten years ago? Is it even the same bar? And am I taking this metaphor too far? These are just great.

    I used to think my husband’s brother had a gift for technology. Then I realized… he was just born seven years later than we were.

  2. michael lee Post author

    Frankly, I think if I were coming into APU right now as a student, I’d be middle of the pack the whole way through. The level of talent is becoming pretty astounding.

  3. Trevor Carpenter

    Mike…are you implying that you were at a polar end when we attended? I think it’s pretty sweet to think that you have power over young minds. Wow. If they only knew that guy I knew, standing behind me, out on the end. What was that exclusive club called? People like Aly aren’t invited.


  4. Chad

    I think if I were at APU now, I would still pretty much kick everyone’s ass, just like I did in the 90s.

    What I mean to say is this…

    I thinik if I were at APU now, I would still think I was kicking everyone’s ass until my sophomore year when Jud showed up. Then I would discover I was incorrect.

  5. june

    I went to hear the APU choir and orchestra last night with a friend who is an alum (but she’s old like me so none of you would know her)…the whole time they were all singing their hearts out, I kept thinking ‘I wonder if any of these kids are in Mike’s class?’ That and, ‘I wonder if they get to have their dresses and suits dry-cleaned at some point ‘cuz if not, I’m betting those things will be able to stand up by themselves after two weeks of touring!’

    And speaking of technology and the college experience, my fellow art majors and myself once nearly tarred and feathered one of our classmates for using, God forbid, a COMPUTER to complete an assignment. We sneered, criticized, scoffed, rolled our eyes and declared him a cheating non-artist who had already sold his soul to the devil in exchange for a logo. This was circa 1991. My college was very, uh, progressive.

  6. Ash

    Try me with the name of your friend… was she/he in U.C.&? I used to have a homemade collection of U.C.&O trading cards when I was in High School!

  7. june

    I can’t either. Though I assume…

    My friend’s maiden name is Jennifer Peoples. And, as she puts it, she wasn’t good enough to be in the University Choir, so enjoyed being in the women’s choir. But get this…she met her husband (of 12 years) while on tour: he hosted her and a friend after the choir sang at his church! Kinda funny and, well, creepy.

  8. Sharolyn

    Could this spawn a sequel post of “creepy” host stories?

    I was shocked upon graduation to figure out that there ARE great, Christian guys outside of APU. Amazing.

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