Wednesday, October 13, 2010

IWB, SmartMusic and a Music Ed Magic piece.

I was reading an article the other day about listening on Music Ed Magic.  Chad Criswell does a nice job of finding neat references.  Chad found an article about listening (as part of practice) improving performance.

Then it hit me that this is another thing that you can use SmartMusic for... it is a listening opportunity.

Yes, we do want kids to become independent music readers, but at the beginning stage we really need some models for what we are trying to do.  It is very hard to hit the target if you don't hear the target.

So fire up SmartMusic in a rehearsal with my beginners and here is our SmartMusic enhanced process for studying a method book line.

First, turn off the accompaniment and turn on the "My Part" feature.  Just listen to how it goes.  Follow the cursor if you want or follow in the book.

Second, count and clap while the machine plays your part again.  (When kids ask why do this?  The answer is "the right note at the wrong time is ...")

Third, say your note names and do the fingerings/slide positions/sticking while your part plays again. (I am using this on beginners and a chance to reinforce the names of the notes is huge.  I am surprised by how many students know the note by just the fingering and not the name.)

Fourth, do your air/articulation (sizzle) while doing fingerings and listen while the line plays again.  (This is a great way to do articulation without all your thinking tied-up in tone production.)

Fifth time is play normally with the part playing on the computer.

Sixth time, turn the accompaniment back on and play.

Seventh time, turn the "My Part" off and play.

I was surprised when we got to the play normally stage.  The kids were playing with a good tone and weren't scrambling with the fingerings.  The rhythms were on the beat and things felt put together.

When I did a quick show-of-hands poll, most kids felt very confident that they knew the new line well.

Yes, this SmartMusic enhanced process held my students' attention for seven repetitions.  No, I don't think I could hold their attention without the cursor on my interactive white board and the example sounds for them to follow.  Not for seven tries.

Do I use this with every song every day?  No, just the new ones and not all of those.  There is research out there that suggests that we hold IWB use to about 80% of the time.  All good things can be overdone.

I use this process on the songs I think are important in the method book.  You probably can think of what they are right now in your mind: the songs that apply the new concepts,  the songs that need that little extra push to keep kids moving along, the songs that you wish were easier to teach.

Does anyone else out there have a way they would tweak the process?  Give it a try and fit it into your teaching strategies  and let me know what you think.

1 comment:

Keith Ozsvath - @band_techie said...

Good work! Glad to get some validation in what I have been doing as well. I always thought younger students learned best when they clapped & counted rhythms, said the notes names & fingered, and finally played. I am going to give the SmartMusic twist a try. BTW, I just started using SM scales in full band for articulations. Very useful!