“Some of the students in this school who are very low functioning, are really making music,” Goldberg tells FoxNews.com.
Being on the autism spectrum, Goldberg’s students often have a hard time with communication, socializing and focusing. But, with use of an iPad, they have been able to play some of the most difficult and challenging music compositions such as “Space Circus” by famous jazz composer Chick Corea.
The iPad’s immediate ease of use empowers the students to move past the technical challenges and permeate learning curves of traditional instruments so they can begin expressing themselves through music immediately.
Beyond the physical deterrents the iPad has helped lift, Goldberg says he’s witnessed a social phenomenon take place in his classroom. Students who ordinarily had problems communicating what they want or need, seemed to suddenly be liberated by their music, expressing themselves creatively. “I see them supporting each other. They compliment each other. They help each other out,” Goldberg said. “It is just magical, really a beautiful thing to see.”
Despite the budget cuts, principal Kathy Posa, has advocated for the arts anyway. She emphasizes the irrefutable benefits the programs have for children with special needs.
“We use anything we can to make them creative, and it helps with their behavior as well, reinforcing them to the point that they know they can do something, making it less frustrating for them as well,” Posa said.
Normally, student Jason Haughton, who is not usually very vocal and is assisted, opened up an app on his iPad to play his instrument — all on his own. He also did not want to let go of the microphone when introducing himself on camera.
PS177’s digital orchestra has not only learned long pieces of music, but has also produced their own impromptu compositions.
“These students are learning to work together,” Posa said. “They are learning to share, and to cooperate, and to be like a team, because that’s what is really going on when people play music together. It’s like a team.”
The students rock out using Garageband, Apple’s popular music app, along with an array of other apps like Animoog, MIDI Touch, Thumbjam, Bloom and Trope.