What is YouthBeat?
YouthBeat is an app and teacher resource program that was created so that generalist teachers with no musical training could leverage their students’ passion for music as a way to boost engagement in learning and support development of resiliency, agency, and problem solving skills.
The program can be offered as an after school, lunchtime, or in-class offering.
What age is YouthBeat designed for?
The program is suitable for students in Grades 4-12, and some resources can be implemented as early as Grade 2.
The most effective model is to have the program facilitated by youth leaders - high school students who can inspire younger students and model the best ways of working with the app to achieve students’ goals - working with teachers.
What is the teacher/facilitator role?
YouthBeat’s facilitation model encourages exploration, inquiry, reflection, and collaboration. The facilitator’s role in this model is to facilitate inquiry; to create a culture, space and tone that engenders the values and principles inherent in our leadership model.
Like Google and Siri, where students are able to search/query a database and find answers themselves, the YouthBeat app is a self-contained resource where students through their own exploration are able to develop musical awareness and skills, and engage in self-directed learning.
Students can become the "experts" and learn at their own pace based on their own interests. This removes the burden on teachers to lead instruction, and frees them to focus on curriculum connections and observing student interactions instead.
What will my students learn?
The YouthBeat app distills foundational concepts inherent in music and in the way music is put together. It is a kind of ‘musical sketch pad” that has been specifically designed to provoke learning and unlock the musical potential of users.
The app and the tutorials and other resources on this site promote agency and personal voice by empowering users to make every musical choice as they develop a song or short instrumental piece. Unlike GarageBand, where musical concepts are not visible to the students, and where many musical decisions are automated, with YouthBeat users tap to create every melody note and chord sound, giving them a deep sense of ownership.
Can YouthBeat help with more than just music?
Yes. The app and tutorials support a wide range of curriculum connections to language arts, social studies, and math which can be developed further by teachers. The tutorial on phrase patterns in music connects to phrases in language. A particularly successful lesson asks students to develop soundtracks on YouthBeat, then imagine and write up the scenes the music provokes in their imagination.
The study of diverse cultures is supported by having students adapt concepts from short recordings of indigenous and folkloric styles in music they are inspired to create on the app, and by having them explore the lives of musicians and the role of music around the world.
The app can be used to help students explore fractions, subdivision, and pattern recognition and manipulation. At a workshop in an elementary school in the Niagara region, the Principal stated she had never seen such engagement in math among students in Grades 3-6.
How much does YouthBeat cost?
YouthBeat’s in class and after school programs range in cost from $500 - 1,000 per class or after school program for 10-15 hours of instruction. Schools are required to provide iPads on a ratio of at least one iPad to every two students. The app itself is $2.99.
What teaching support does YouthBeat have?
The iPad app comes with a ten-part video tutorial set that supports self-directed learning and focuses on highlighting underlying principles and concepts that students can then apply to multiple contexts. The intent is to support one lesson per week for ten weeks.
YouthBeat is an initiative of The Royal Conservatory’s public school division Learning Through the Arts.