Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Choral Experience With SmartMusic


Dr. Christopher Russell is an active choir teacher  in Woodbury, Minnesota.  He is also a blogger and someone to add to your reading list, especially if you are new to adding technology to your music teaching practice.

One of Dr. Russell's new projects is adding a SmartMusic component to his choir program. He has been at it for about three months and has posted some observations about how SmartMusic is working for his program.  He has certainly given SmartMusic a pretty thorough test.

I am not an active choir teacher, (my current assignment is band and general music) so it was interesting to read his viewpoints.  I found it interesting that some of the issues are the same kid-centered problems we have had here... like trying to get an assignment in at the last minute or the dreaded "they submitted it without listening to it blues."

I have heard some complaints in the past about the lack of vocal music support in SmartMusic... the program development efforts have seemed to be instrumentally centered.  From what I am reading here it sounds like SmartMusic has made a good start on fixing those complaints.  There is a need to add a lot more vocal literature and I am sure those efforts are underway.

If you are worried that SmartMusic is going to fill your day with extra work, Dr. Russell has found it to be a time saver.  You don't have the hemming and hawing, just the work.  I have found SmartMusic makes it easy to move evaluation to a more convenient (and private) time and place.  A teacher probably gets more accurate evaluation results from high school students when they don't have to sing a test in front of the class.  You also have documentation of the student's work, something that is very handy should a parent or supervisor wonder about a grade.

SmartMusic should be more than the program that the band people use.  I think it is choir ready.

These are just the highlights and Chris Russell has a lot more to say, follow the link!

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