In what Apple is calling a first in a series of looks at innovative technology use in the classroom, the company is highlighting how its products are used for production of music and theater at the Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts.
Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts has developed a Music, Media and Entertainment Technology (MMET) program. The program is incorporated into nine of APA's available theater and music majors, giving students hands-on training in fields including theater tech, audio recording and video production using Logic Pro X and Final Cut Pro X.
As part of the program, the school houses a recording studio with a guitar room, and several other collaborative music creation spaces the students are encouraged to use whenever they feel inspired. In the school's auditorium, students use a Yamaha CL5 digital mixer for monitoring and controlling sound levels around the theater — all controlled on an iPad Pro.
"It was imperative to let the students create a show that they wanted," said Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) alum Jamie Knight. "We have all the student leaders break the kids into groups of like five or six kids and the simple instruction is pick 10 songs that you would die to perform live, that are new. Then the student producers narrow those songs down, and the kids that like to write songs audition for the staff."
Fifteen years after establishment, the program has grown to include 152 students majoring in MMET Popular Music and MMET Media. Students are using Apple hardware and software to write their own music, arrange songs, and perform live in three major shows a year.
"We don't just focus on the technology," Knight said. "It's that performing arts experience that gives them leadership skills, confidence, team work, all of those soft skills that businesses want. You have to perform to get that, and then when you marry that with the technology and you give the kids the ability to have a real recording studio to work with, they're going to be the next Steven Spielberg, or the next Paul McCartney."