No money for instruments? Maybe an app can help your school

The online music service Spotify is partnering with New York teachers to try and develop new apps that can help music education in public schools. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The online music service Spotify says it will pair hackers with public school teachers to create innovative music education apps. 

At the first-ever, two-day "Music Education Hackathon" in New York City, engineers will spend 30 hours collaborating with teachers to build new music education software products.

The goal is to "unlock the creative power of music and technology to address some key educational challenges," according to a post on Spotify's website

Ki Mae Heussner wrote about the upcoming event for GigaOM, a business and technology website.

They don’t expect any classroom-ready apps to come out of a weekend-long hackathon but they do hope that it gets teachers and engineers talking about ways they can hack education together.

The immediate idea is that developers could create tools that will supplement music education programs already in New York schools but, down the road, technology could help make music education of some kind more feasible for more schools. A traditional orchestra program may require a big investment in instruments and rehearsal space, but, as Steven Hodas, executive director of Innovate NYC Schools, pointed out, digital music programs could still teach students about harmony, composition and production — at a lower cost

As many arts educators know, Flashnote Derby, Note Tutor and Rhythm Sight Reading Trainer and other music apps are already available.

But do you think apps could play a bigger role in the classroom? What music apps have you found the most effective for students?

Let us know in the comments below.