Teachers, make sure your students know how to: 1.) find this mic setting wizard, 2.) know how to review their recordings and 3.) know how to adjust the accompaniment/soloist balance and everyone will be much happier with the results! Also improved are the teacher tools. It is now possible to create an assignment and not have to recreate it for each instrument. Band assessments for the whole group in one-tenth the time. You will need Finale 2009 to make that work. Hopefully, that is just an upgrade for your school. If you are starting from scratch, put Finale '09 on your must have list. SmartMusic is by subscription. You do renew this year after year. I'm surprised that more software doesn't work this way. You always have the latest version and don't have 42 outdated versions on your hard drive. (and MakeMusic doesn't have to support several years worth of versions.) I wonder if Adobe shouldn't toy with this idea...ever wanted to upgrade Photo$hop?
SmartMusic runs on Vista or XP and Tiger and Leopard. You can bump into memory and speed issues with the hardware, so check the requirements at www.smartmusic.com. I don't know about your program, but at my school, we can be the last in the building for any kind of hardware upgrade.
Hardware can be an issue at home as well. 94 percent of my students have internet access and a computer. 80 percent of my kids can run SmartMusic at home. Most of that 14 percent are having problems with old hardware...Dad brought home a cast-off from work, etc. So if you are doing a site license program at your school, do some careful surveying to get the real number of possible installs figured out for your situation.
Who knows, maybe we will get to the promised land of solid machines for all kids someday. Or all programmers will write code that doesn't need a ton of system resources. SmartMusic on the iPhone App store anyone?
I am looking forward to using this program with my kids this fall. MakeMusic! has found ways to make a solid product easier to use! Stay tuned.