When I got hired for my current position as a Music Teacher and Social Studies Teacher, I was given the honor of being the first Music Teacher in the school’s history. The first step to starting the first music program in the school’s history was to pick the musical equipment. Since the school is very technology-friendly and provides the students with Apple laptops to use for certain classes and activities, I started off the school year teaching GarageBand in the Music classes. Since I had to balance Music with Social Studies, I made the schedule that every grade would have a guaranteed Music class on Thursdays. Thus, GarageBand was the focal point of my Music lessons for the first few Thursday Music classes as we waited for the music equipment to arrive.
The first piece of musical equipment I recommended for the school was the M-Audio Oxygen 25.
I had used an older model of the Oxygen 25 in my previous school and had nothing but pleasant experiences using it with all of my Music classes. In my old school, I used the Oxygen 25 every time I had an opportunity to use the computer lab for Music class. This MIDI controller is literally “plug and play”. It doesn’t even need a power adaptor as it is powered by the computer when it is plugged in. Students would find their laptop numbers, open GarageBand and then receive their MIDI controller for the session. Once they connected the USB cable from the Oxygen 25 to their laptop and hit the power switch, they were ready to get started.
These controllers are small enough to store in most school cabinets. My old school had about 8 of them. I ordered 20 for my new school and there is no issue with storage. I love the 25-key version because it is easier to fit on student desks, whether they are working by themselves or in a group.
In 3 years, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences using these controllers. There have been no issues with compatibility. The students plug in and they are ready to learn. They absolutely love using these MIDI controllers and so do I.
There are some useful and more peripheral features on the controllers. For instance, the octave buttons are very useful and help users compensate with the lack of keys as compared to a full length piano or keyboard. A more unnecessary but fun feature can be seen in the pitch bend, which seems pretty standard on most keyboards I’ve seen nowadays.
When combined with a program like GarageBand, the M-Audio Oxygen 25 has been an excellent resource for me as a musician and as a Music Teacher. The controllers have become a cornerstone to teaching Music in my program and I would recommend them to any musician or teacher with full confidence.
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