Music and Technology

Twitter

For the past several years the best source I have found for finding new resources, websites, software and ideas has been Twitter. For me, it’s a gold mine. I mine out at least 5-7 good ideas a day. I’m surprised when I mention it to other music teachers that very few are using it and those that are, don’t use it to its fullest. The key is following the right people. Not people that tell you what they’re doing for lunch but people that share experiences and knowledge. It’s a true professional learning community. Every Monday night music teachers from around the world chat on various topics. The topic is given out during the day and then at 8EST the chat begins. Type in the hash tag #musedchat in the search field and chat online or just watch the discussion. If you haven’t tried Twitter, it’s time to start. If you did but stopped, try it again.

Examples
Here is a sample of a few resources from the past few days:

Here are a few people I follow (of course you can see everyone I follow on my page):

Hash Tags
Notice the # (hash tags) at the end of some of the samples. Hash tags are an easy and great way to search for things. Some that I like are: #smartboard #IWB #musedchat #musiced #jazz #tmea #edtech #mpln

Click on this link to follow me

The Eco Zoo

The Eco Zoo is a very cool website. It’s a pop-up book that’s 3d. You can spin it, twist it, and look at it from different angles. They need to make more books like this. It’s not really something very useful for the music classroom but the sounds are really good and the graphics are great. Looks even more impressive on the SMART board (or any IWB).

Blob Chorus

Blob Chorus

I ran across this “game” last week and had to try it out with my classes. I used it from PreK – 5th grade and it was a huge hit. It’s an ear training game where you pick which blob matches pitch with the King blob. If you pick the wrong blob, that blob blows up (I think my students missed some on purpose just to see it blow, it was pretty funny). You can choose from 2 blobs and go as high as 8 blobs. I think it’s a great way to work on ear training. Even my PreK classes did pretty well.

Mallet Madness

Mallet Madness and Mallet Madness Strikes Again by Artie Almeida are some of my favorite resources and lessons. These lessons combine beat, rhythm, melody, harmony, form, literature and most of all fun. The lessons are based around students using every instrument in your room. Students rotate through the instruments playing the different exercises. As a teacher I love anything that combines technique, songs and fun. Classroom management is a breeze because everyone is always doing something. Students are constantly engaged and I can easily see if they are applying the concepts to the instruments. Before using these books I could get my students to learn rhythms, I could get them to learn a song, but I never felt they connected the concepts to actually making music. One of the other things I enjoy is her use of literature. She has lessons based on several children’s books. As I read the story, or one of the students read, all the other students either add rhythms or sound effects to the story.Once again, this really engages the students, it’s cross-curricular, administrators love it. It a win win situation all around.

If you haven’t looked into resources by Artie Almeida you need to. If you ever get a chance to go to one of her workshop go, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Resources for the SMART board should be available this summer.

One Minute Theory

I start off every class with what I call “One Minute Theory”. The idea behind it is to: review the concept covered in the last class, take a quick assessment, and allow all the students to do something on the SMART board.

As soon as the class walks in I pick a student. For example if I pick a boy, the first thing he does is pick a girl. That girl in turn picks a boy and so on. The first boy (after picking the girl) goes up to the board and answers whatever question I posted, after answering he sits in his spot and the girl answers the next question. All the other students sit in their spots until they get picked. So basically I have 1 student answering a question and 3 or 4 students waiting in line to answer theirs. If a student takes too long answering the question I help them out or get the class to help. Depending on the question, I can get through the entire class in a max of 2 minutes.

This activity has really helped my class and my teaching. I can quickly see which students grasp the concepts and which concepts I need to reteach. More importantly the students love the activity. When’s the last time you’ve seen students excited to take a quiz.

Mustech

Mustech is a great wiki for sharing and downloading SMART board (and other IWB) files specifically tailored for the music classroom. It has everything from tutorials to lessons. If you’re a member you can also join in on the discussion board. They also have sections for powerpoints and music links.

Staff Wars

Staff Wars is the best thing I’ve found to teach my students how to read music. It’s modeled after Star Wars and the object of the game is to shoot down the note before it gets to the laser.

After every 10 right answers the notes speed up. Like your typical game each player has 3 lives. If that wasn’t enough you can pick, treble, bass and now alto clef.

But wait there’s more…. v2.2 allows you to pick any instrument and if you have a mic on your computer, students can use and play anything from a recorder to a trumpet to shoot the notes down. AND the best thing is, it’s free!!

I keep a high score list on the board for each grade. Many students have downloaded it to their personal computers so if they email me or bring me a screen shot of their score I add them to the high score list.

To download this game just visit The Music Interactive

This is a great site, plus the majority or their files are free or around $5.

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