High-Tech Performing Arts Schools Are Here

Image via OneDublin

Image via OneDublin

Creative and performing arts schools around the country are using technology to fuel their music, dance, visual art, film and writing programs. They incorporate 3D printers to build props, software to compose music and editing suites to produce movies.

Over the past few decades, art and technology have become more intertwined than ever before, creating a unique intersectional space where artists can experiment with new ways of combining different media with their artistic practices.

Technology also provides students with new perspectives and opportunities. For instance, students can use 3D printers to create musical instruments that better fit their bodies. That experience offers the benefit of customized instruments as well as lessons about design, physics and resonance.

Such projects — those in which students combine technology and art to express themselves creatively and fulfill a practical need — are the most successful.

Tech For The Stage

Students at a California Performing Arts School currently use a networked central console to change the color, direction and other aspects of LED stage lights. This summer, the school will upgrade to Yamaha CL5 and QL5 networked digital audio consoles — the same tools they would use in a professional production.

In classrooms students are using Avid Pro Tools, industry-standard audio production software, to record sounds, then edit and layer them so that the listener can determine a specific story and environment. The students might use traffic sounds to convey an urban setting, then layer in Big Ben’s chimes to indicate that it’s London.

Tech for The Small Screen

The film and television conservatory at Orange County School of the Arts uses a wide variety of technologies, including DaVinci Resolve color correction software, high-definition cameras, a complete TV studio and control room and Adobe Creative Suite for editing and special effects.

“We’re a full-service film and television program, so we have an extensive list of hardware and software,” says Aaron Orullian, director of the conservatory.

Blending Old with New

Combining traditional media and technology enables young artists to invent new processes.

In a sculpture class students learn how to make molds by hand and with a MakerBot 3D printer. The teacher also emphasizes traditional skills such as drawing, painting and sculpting by hand, then supplement that by teaching students how to incorporate a variety of technologies (everything from Adobe Illustrator to MakerBot 3D printers and laser cutters) into the ­creative process.

These schools are bringing the latest technology to their students, but also making sure they understand why the older methods work as well. It’s a great balance and it will be interesting to see where performing arts schools go next.

(Story via EdTech)