These lessons are designed to be apart of a modular curriculum. Each student is different and so are their learning styles. Choose, mix and repeat any number of these lessons so that it fits with the learning styles of your students.
Balance practice time and project work with lecturing, demonstrations and examples. For every 10 minutes of talking and demonstrating, there should be 20 minutes for student experimentation and application. Facilitate group projects by having students create 1 part of a composition (drums), then trade and collaborate with another student (melody). It could even be a class wide project in a round robin fashion.
Loop-based compositions vs. Building from scratch
Electronic composition gets a bad rap from programs like GarageBand and other loop based software. If the class focus is on composition and music theory, try to leave loop based composition to the end of the class or leave it out entirely. A loop based composition is created by dragging and dropping pre made loops, phrases and motifs of music onto the sequencer. In most cases, the loops also automatically sync to the tempo of the song. This has limited music theory applications except perhaps during lessons on arranging. I tend to cover loop based instruments at the end of the semester. The students can use them to add extra layers to their compositions and experiment with sound design and sound collage techniques.
Minimize time spent "Looking through sounds"
For the most part, we try to minimize time spent "looking through sounds". Students should not focus on choosing the right sounds which is why we provide a set number of sounds to choose from. Class time should be spent learning and applying composition and technical skills necessary to compose with digital software.
Sound Design vs. Music Theory
Music theory lessons can be combined with sound design techniques because many of the sound design techniques are driven by music theory concepts. For example, the LFO has a rate knob that controls the rate at which the LFO modulates a sound parameter, like volume. You can sync the rate knob to different subdivisions like 32nds, 16ths, and 8ths, to teach basic subdivisions.
Playing / Recording vs. Drawing / Programming
In larger classes, teaching a class full of piano novices is fairly difficult. If you are pairing this with a piano class, then it is a bit easier to have students play all of the parts in via keyboard. However, you can also choose to let them program and draw the parts in. Think of it as a composer sitting at a piano (the piano is inside the computer to preview notes) with a pencil and a piece of staff paper. This type of class will focus more on composition rather than the technical/muscle memory skills necessary to play piano. One compromise is to use the on-screen keyboard provided with many audio programs. This is a piano keyboard that you play on your computer keyboard. Oddly enough, a lot of professional composers use it, because it conveniently gives you a one octave keyboard to preview. The best solution is to mix a bit of each into every lesson and see what each student's preferences and strengths are.