An interactive learning environment is exactly what Dr. Chris Lee, Dreher High School’s director of bands, was hoping for when he applied for a 2013 Colonial Life Strong Schools Grant to create a recording studio in the band room so his students could “actively evaluate their own performance.”
Seeing the potential in his application, Lee received almost $800 to purchase the Propellerhead Reason 7 Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software and Avid Pro Tools 11 Academic for the studio.
According to Lee, the recording sessions have been beneficial because what you hear when you play an instrument is similar to what you hear when you talk.
“We always think we know what we sound like until we hear a recording of our voice,” he said. “When you play, you have an idea of what you sound like, but hearing the recording creates greater awareness and lets us know if we are playing exactly what we think we’re playing. Once you become aware, you make beautiful music.”
The recording studio isn’t just creating a better band. Lee gives students access to the equipment so they can produce their own audio and video recordings during class or after school and become creative composers, producers, arrangers and performers.
Through the grant program, Colonial Life awarded $25,000 in mini-grants of up to $1,000 each to teachers in South Carolina in Richland County School District One to fund innovative school projects that engage students and improve learning.