Technology is integrated into the classroom everyday and is an integral part of the students’ daily classroom experience. When planning a rehearsal, I think about what the objectives I want to accomplish and how technology can be used to enhance those objectives.
There are available technological options to support all areas of music performance such as intonation, tone quality, rhythm or recording. Sometimes it is as easy as using your imagination or doing a quick Google search. With the new teacher evaluation rubrics now being implemented in Indiana and across the country, there is a stronger emphasis to include technology in the classroom. Integrating technology into a music rehearsal can become seamless with a little planning.
At Creekside our technology set up inlcudes a computer, Yamaha Harmony Director, sound mixer and document camera.
Creekside uses SmartMusic and having access to the computer allows easy access to its features and repertoire, which I both use for a variety of purposes. SmartMusic has various practice tools including a digital recorder that I use. Being able to project repertoire or method books we are using to help focus the students’ attention and be able to hear the accompaniments helps engage the class. Using the SmartMusic Gradebook feature allows me to document student growth.
The computer also gives me access websites such as YouTube that has some very good recordings and performances. However, make sure you listen to the examples first to make sure they meet your standards. One activity I do is to play a couple of different recordings from a piece that we are working on and have a student led discussion about what differences are being heard between the two performances. It is create for critical thinking skills.
The Harmony Director features a sustain option that allows any note or chord to be held in either just or equal temperaments. This helps the students to experience learn that notes may need to played differently depending on where the note fits in a chord. TonalEnergy tuner is an iOS app that can help accomplish this as well. In addition, the app has a rewarding visual feature that displays a smiley face when a student plays in tune!
The first thing to remember is to start simple. For example, there are many options available to record your group or individuals digitally. SmartMusic allows me to record and easily compare different recordings immediately. This provides a simple way for your students to critique their own performances.
Remember, by starting easy and with a little planning, using technology in your rehearsal can be both a positive and seamless addition to your classroom!