What new and inventive ways are you using technology to teach your students musically? | Edutopia
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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

What new and inventive ways are you using technology to teach your students musically?

What new and inventive ways are you using technology to teach your students musically?

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Marshall Shaw's picture
Marshall Shaw
Performing Arts Teacher

Students in Grades 4-6 are using MacBooks (or MacBook Pro, iPad2) to bring their Arts experiences to life. Suddenly, all inquiry activities become meaningful and individual as students have what they need to create what's real for them. Students are definitely not on the same page of the artistic journey.
We've been exploring the following over the past month since school started:
*online music games to assist with reading of notation and the elements of music
*GarageBand to create soundscapes in concert with dramatic reading of a text line, followed by adding tracks that enhance/embellish their work with a variety of the elements of music/drama. Students create their own sounds from a plethora of sources from body, instrument to sounds from the building we are in. They notate their performance on a paper timeline using traditional and non-traditional notation with a variety of colour/shapes/textures (elements of visual art)
*GarageBand for me to record their class efforts for instant feedback and sharing on the LED projector on an interactive whiteboard
*GarageBand to record the students playing recorder solos, then playing a duet with themselves while the first melody is played by GarageBand
*GarageBand to allow students in Grade 6 to see a visual representation (wave form) of proper tonguing techniques when learning a new wind instrument.
*Built-in cam on their MacBook and the iLife suite of software to make podcasts on 'How to learn the recorder - How to read music' type lessons they create for other students, etc.
*Students recording themselves for assessment or self-reflection via audio or video, or both, recording software, which can be shared with me

I'm watching students 'turn on' to the Arts on so many levels through these activities. Please give it a try!

Eyal Kaminka, Phd.'s picture
Eyal Kaminka, Phd.
Leading Educator at Joytunes

Reading your post, I refer you to my previous note regarding the JoyTunes project which sounds like an online game that may fit your needs (www.JoyTunes.com. As mentioned, It is a free interactive online game that is controlled by live, real playing. The elementary school kids play a fun game but actually learn and practice their real instruments, including notation, finger techniques, ear-training, sound stability, etc.

Have fun!

Mrs. H's picture
Mrs. H
7/8 band teacher, Minnesota

I would love to use SmartMusic with my kids, but lack of student access to the internet at home stands in my way. I don't know if there is a way to use any portion of the program if the students don't have internet at home? I had thought about setting up a practice room at school to use the testing feature of it, and let kids cycle in and out of rehearsal, but it seemed like it could possibly be disruptive and our tech guy bawked at the idea of leaving a student alone in a room with the computer and no supervision. Thoughts?

Richard J. Frank's picture
Richard J. Frank
President and Founder of PlayTheGroove.com

This program does seem terrific. But what are the costs to a single school or district? What about it makes it so appealing and inviting?

bob's picture
high school music teacher

What equipment is needed to successfully integrate GB in a classroom setting

Eyal Kaminka, Phd.'s picture
Eyal Kaminka, Phd.
Leading Educator at Joytunes

[quote]My Daughter (9 yrs ) is extremely interested in Music and Dance, she is well versed with various forms of music and dance including ... How can I help her learn more ... Looking forward to suggestions.[/quote]

Try out www.JoyTunes.com/play. It is a free interactive musical game that teaches recorder in a fun way and builds motivation for more learning - perfect for this age group. I know that music teachers use it to enhance class activities and motivate kids to practice at home.

Jeannine's picture
K-5 General, Choral, Band teacher in Poughkeepsie, NY

I have used an online program called Jamstudio www.jamstudio.com in my music classes. I applied for a grant and based on the number of students in my school, am usually awarded enough accounts for all, including myself. Students need an email address and password to access the program, but once they have created their account, they can create music and will have an mp3 file of their music sent to their email to KEEP! It becomes their property. There is a section where you can add solo recording feature too. All you need is a microphone. It can be a challenge to manage, because of individual accounts, but the kids loved it!

Dahlia's picture
Elementary Music/Violin Specialist

Have any of you tried the Sibelius software for kids called Groovy Music? Its pretty awesome and can be used with an interactive white board :)

jen's picture

I use Garage Band--students love creating with it either through using a MIDI keyboard or the loops program. We have also used it as a way to edit music we create and perform using other instruments. For instance, first-graders made sound effects and music to accompany The Little Red Hen. I used GB to record myself narrating the story and then put their sounds into the program, editing them as needed. It took TONS of my own time but was well worth it.

Older students use YouTube tutorial videos to learn how to play a song on the guitar or piano, to look up chords, learn how to sing new songs.

Also, we use Sound Cloud to share our musical performances and compositions. It is kept private. The kids can log in using my username and password, listen to each other's music and make comments that are timed to appear right at the point in the music that they are referring to. It helps them develop their music vocabulary and evaluative skills, and I can also efficiently give feedback to them in the comments section.

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