The Hilltop High Music Technology program has been the inspiration of many successful music tech programs nationwide. Hilltop High began its tech program in 1987 at Southwestern High School, when instructor Dennis Mauricio suggested that some of his students bring their synthesizers in and jam with him after school. Mauricio began developing curriculum for an introductory course in music technology, which opened a year later.
Beginning with a few thousand dollars, the school purchased two synths, an Apple computer, sequencing software, a drum machine and a four track “portastudio.” Within one semester, Hilltop was offering two filled sections of music tech classes.
The next year, Mauricio added a Music Engineering class and a performance component, the Music Tech Ensemble. Most of the gear the program received was the result of the visibility of the Music Tech Ensemble, which performed in the community and at State Music Educator's Conferences. As a result, additional funding was made available for computers, synthesizers and a variety of alternative controllers like V-Drums and wind controllers.
School SpotlightThe current Tech Ensemble is a mixture of acoustic and electronic musical instruments, including synthesizers, V-Drums, wind controllers, guitar controllers and organic brass. The Tech ensemble also uses choral students as vocalists.
The Music Engineering class has grown to using Boss and Roland recorders, as well as various software applications. Music Tech students produce their own projects, as well as Tech Ensemble CDs for fundraising purposes. Not only does the program benefit financially from its recording projects, but students gain from going through the entire production and post production processes.
It became evident that the program had outgrown its facility at the school, and administrators sought to train other teachers at the music tech facility. The program moved from Southwestern to its current location at Hilltop High in Chula Vista, in a remodeled choir room that now includes 16 lab stations, three studios an ensemble rehearsal area and equipment storage. The room is networked between student station and teacher stations, allowing students and teacher to share files and includes audio, video, ethernet and LocalTalk.
The program currently contains four major areas of focus for students: music performance, music engineering, music business and multimedia. Current courses include: Intro to Music Technology 1 and 2, Music Engineering 1, Advanced Music Engineering, Music Business Productions 1, Web Design/Multimedia Arts and Music Tech Ensemble.
Director Dennis Mauricio has been instrumental in bringing his enthusiasm and expertise to many other music tech programs. He has written many arrangements for music tech ensembles, as well as music technology curriculums. Dennis’ most current series was produced specifically for Roland products, and its called The Music Mentor series. Volume 1 is An Easy Approach to Teaching Technology, Volume 2 is An Easy Approach to Recording and volume 3 is Performing with Electronic Musical Instruments.
Dennis works as an educational consultant for the Roland Corporation and speaks on a variety of music technology topics at educator shows across the country. Please see the calendar for Dennis’ speaking schedule.