Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hello Red Wing!

It was good to meet you today.  Hope the blog helps with the SmartMusic discussion.  Don't let them do away with lessons and think that SmartMusic can replace that time with your students.
For you and everyone else looking in, we have learned a lot over the last couple of years and I think I can whittle it down for you. 
Have practice room computers.  Our 240 band kids use our 4 practice rooms.  A lot.  Some days it sounds like jury day is coming to a college nearby.  Pretty cool.  But really, this is the stopper for all the people with problems... I don't have a computer/it crashed/Mom needed it for work/It isn't good enough for SmartMusic.  Just smile and point to the open practice rooms.  
With Impact, a student can get at his assignments from any SmartMusic equipped computer.  Practice room, home, friends house.  Use Impact.  It so simplifies life with SmartMusic.
We have about 180 student home installs.  Not everyone is going to be able to get through the practice rooms.  It's just not physically possible.  So if you are going to use it for more than just testing, push the SmartMusic everywhere philoshophy.  Really, the power of SmartMusic is as a practice tool, not a testing tool or as something you just use in lessons.  We are still pushing this concept hard with our kids this year and probably will for the next couple of years.
Should you do this for your program?  Is it worth the trouble?  I have this really good education and a talent for diagnosing problems... 
First of all, you are not at every practice session.  Kind of scary isn't it?
This program helps guide a student and makes a game of practice.  People are surprised how much effort a student will put into beating the machine.  Very motivating.  
Most kids don't sign up for the practice room, they sign up to make music with a group.  This is a good simulation of that group.  It does help with understanding how your part fits.
Modeling the work.  I know most teachers can figure out how it goes.  But when your students are off practicing by themselves, can they tell how it goes?
Yes, I think all band programs should use SmartMusic.  People noticed something was different here when we started using it more.  It isn't about you, it is about the students.  I do think you will like the results and you will get to spend time making music, not fixing problems with wrong notes and rhythms.  A much better use of your talent and education.
Hope the middle school change over goes well for you.  Give me a holler if I can do anything else for you.

No comments: