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Technology in the Music Classroom April 21, 2011

Posted by dorerj15 in Advocacy, Music Ed., Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,

More and more technology is being  integrated in classrooms, so why not enhance the class and involve the kids with the technology that  many of them already know how to use (better than their teachers)? With so much technology out there, and more being created everyday, what technology is worth using and what should rather be left outside the classroom?

My discerning factor in this is simple: if the kids can actively learn from it, and not be distracted, and use it; its good. bottom line- its for the kids.

Smart Boards in regular classrooms

More and more schools are being funded and provided with Smart Boards or the equivalent products. This new technology is being embraced my many school districts which is a great sign for education and in moving further into the 21st century.

I believe that Smart Boards are becoming more and more common because there are now more uses for them, they have greatly expanded their resources with smoother operating systems, better graphics and touch screen functionality.

Also Smart Boards are now more than ever being more successfully  integrated into schools. Teachers are being trained in how to use them in the classroom, which makes it easier for them and a better learning experience for the kids.

Smart Boards in music classrooms

I still have yet to see Smart Boards in a rural music classroom setting where the “normal” classes have them. In speaking with music teachers in this setting, many have been cut short by funding falling through, which is no fault of the department or school, but more lies with the government funding which is falling through across the board in education.

Why the lack of technology inclusion in MUSIC classes? Music classes (including ensembles) are just a tech savvy as normal classes- if not more so!



  •  visual of warm up: choir/band/orchestra (create your own warm up, either from the pieces you are playing or from your own creative genius) and show it on the screen. Easier for kids to see, less time In warm up (not wasting time getting out music, everyone reads off of the screen).
  • Sight Reading- endless possibilities for endless examples of sight reading.
  • Smart Music:
  1. record your ensemble so the group can hear themselves. Self reflection, are we playing this piece in the right manner/sound?
  2. Project the Tuner onto the screen for tuning the group. Brings a visual representation to the auditory process. Kids will see if they are right or not, ok so what do you do to fix it.
  3. use for playing tests, have a section come in/play a given section from your music or one that you create. Will show them what they miss etc. part teaching (listen to the flute part, it looks like this, and sounds like this) Smart Music also will send you student’s recorded examples that you assign. Teachers will receive grade sheets with percentage correct, audio clip of the student playing, and can leave notes and send them directly to the student. Be sure to check out my live blog notes from the Smart Music Session and exclusive interview with David Hawley from Smart Music during PMEA ’11.
  • Youtube: clips of performances, styles, groups etc. there is a great wealth of knowledge (and stupidity ) on Youtube that can be easily shared with your ensembles. Some schools ban Youtube for inappropriate use by students. Fight for the tools that will better teach your ensemble.

General Music:

YOUTUBE- engage the students with real examples of what your teaching them (chord progressions and playing along with popular songs, jazz songs/artists, visual demonstrations of techniques, see authentic performances by artists or styles etc.)

Power points- visually go over materials easier, without disrupting the class to set up a projector

Interactivity- student and teacher used

  • Create a map of a particular song
  • Word maps of music
  • Note flight – create a class composition(s)
  • Review games at end of chapters
  • Pop quizzes- show a chord progression, listen to a song, who is this artist?

So many possibilities for integrated successful learning, even with ensembles. The tools are out there, we can and should be actively using them to better educate our kids and improve our departments.  Smart boards are just one example of using interactive methods and technology to help our students learn more.

Check out my Live-Blog notes from PMEA ’11 last week, my last session was on using Promethean boards in the elementary general music classroom, but all great stuff and definitely applicable to the middle and high school general music as well as ensembles.

::Amy Burns:: – this woman is my hero. Amy Burns is a leader in the technological integration into the music scene. Check out her Website for numerous resources for the general music classroom for elementary grades.

Showing the administration in your districts that even in ensembles we as music educators are doing our job by better teaching our kids about using the technology they will be seeing and using everyday in the work place, is a very important and strong statement. This technology has been proven effective, therefore it is our jobs and RESPONSIBILITIES to learn how to use this technology for the benefit of the kids in our ensembles.   *21st Century skills*

I hope you enjoyed my rant and hopefully got a little more fired up about the lack of funding being focused towards music. With more and more studies coming out proving that music is beneficial to all the other subjects in school, i hope that we are even closer to being recognized as the truly great art form and academic subject that we are.

COMING SOON:  updates from PMEA ’11, with Youtube video of PMEA teachers singing The Awakening!



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