Microsoft Surface makes teaching music more fun and productive

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Andrew Fitzgerald has been teaching instrumental music at Franklin Classical Middle School (FCMS) for over ten years. Microsoft Surface has helped him teach his students to help them achieve things he didn’t know were possible. In many ways, being able to read music is like learning to speak a new language; it can be a hard thing to learn. Fitzgerald used to rely on a whiteboard to help his students read sheet music, but with the Surface app, StaffPad, teaching his students has become a breeze.

Fitzgerald found that the Surface Pro 3 provided a viable way to teach his students visually. Many students at FCMS are English Language Learners (ELLs) and being able to show them a visual presentation of music theory concepts works wonders. Fitzgerald noted what led him to use the Microsoft Surface in his classroom:

“A few years ago I watched Microsoft announce a new computer called Surface. It included an integrated digital pen, and I was immediately intrigued and inspired so much that I bought it when it became available. My classroom has never been the same.”

There are a number of reasons Fitzgerald chose the Surface Pro 3 to help him teach in the classroom, here are a few reasons:

  1. “It’s a full blown computer” – Despite being seen as just a tablet, the Surface Pro 3 has a full-size USB port, a microSD card slot for addition storage, and handles teaching workload, in addition to his personal projects.
  2. “The digital pen.” – Fitzgerald is a teacher and when it comes to teaching drawing and writing to explain concepts is a given. From the chalkboard to the whiteboard and beyond, teachers need to be able to use visual representations to use help students understand complex ideas. The Surface Pen helps teachers convey those ideas in ways that a marker never could.
  3. “It’s wireless.” – The Surface Pro 3 has Miracast built in, so there’s no need for an extra dongle or wires to connect it to a TV or projector. Miracast broadcasts video and audio in real-time, so Fitzgerald’s students can see and hear everything he is doing on his Surface as he creates it.


Fitzgerald relies on a number of Surface apps to help him teach. While he relies mostly on StaffPad, he also uses Piano Time Pro, Mod Tuner Pro, and Modtronome Pro. Drawboard PDF helps Fitzgerald sort through his school and personal documents and the Surface Pen helps him fill out those documents if need be.

Whether it be creating lesson plans and presentations to watching a movie in his personal time, anything and everything is available at his fingertips with the Surface Pro 3. For Fitzgerald, there is only one all-in-one device for him, and that is the Surface.