Mid-morning on the first day of Mozilla Festival, fresh from the buzz of the keynote speech and rearing to go, I found myself at the iPad Orchestra Workshop, which was far from what I expected. Hearing a brief preview of what was being produced as I walked up to the workshop a tad late I was, to my surprise, greeted by a small cluster of young children equipped with an iPad each, and Dave Darch from A Little Learning Educators, stood at the front, conducting iPads instead of instruments.
Using the basic app Garageband, which combines both music and technology, this young group created a sound which would've taken professional musicians years of experience and hours of practice to produce. Although the activity was, in essence, tapping the right buttons in time, the passion and the experience of the music was still very present for everyone in the room. Having learnt an instrument myself at a young age, I know that enduring the painstaking starter process of being out of tune, out of time and out of patience can be demoralising. However, having an opportunity to enjoy creating music at an early age, allowing both their passion and musical intuition to grow, could potentially give young children a head-start which encourages them to continue on with music. The iPad Orchestra captures the essence of the Mozilla Festival perfectly, providing a prime example of the use of technology for beneficial purposes, inspiring young children and offering a stepping stone into world of music.
Speaking to organiser Dave Darch after the workshop, who is also a teacher at the St. Patrick's Catholic Primary School, I found out that the original idea came from work he did, alongside his fellow workshop leader, Ben Sellers. Together, they worked using iPad's to work with disabled adults and children, discovering that it was a fantastic way to teach music to anybody.