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Monday, July 28, 2014

Apps I use in my Orchestra Classroom

I thought I should do another post about apps I that like to use in my orchestra class.  Students love technology and I love to incorporate the ipad in my classroom.  Ipad's work great for game days.  When I did our Orchestra Olympics game day, I divided students into small groups and had them rotate around to different 'events' every 5 minutes.  I used an iPad for 2 different events - one was the Note Squish Game.


This app works great for the orchestra classroom because you can customize the note range and it has all clefs.  Students enjoyed competing to see who could get the highest score.

I used the app TE TUNER for another game for the Olympics, but also I use this app in class now and then during rehearsals


For the game, I had students take turns slowly playing a scale with the tuner app turned on.  Every time a students plays exactly in tune, the app will create a green smiley face.  Students got 1 point for every smiley face they earned while playing the scale.  The app creates a  great visual to help hear and adjust intonation.  Students really liked watching results of their intonation as they played.  I used this app frequently in rehearsals to help students understand that there is only one F# (as an example)...they must all match each other and not just stick to their tape as tapes are not absolute.  The only problem with this app is that is takes up a LOT of space on your hard drive.

AnyTune is another app that I like to play around with.  It will take any music you have in your iPad music library and allow you to make adjustments....change keys, make it faster or slower.  One day I might use this as a rehearsal tool if I am rehearsing music that is not on SmartMusic using the mp3 file from JWPepper.  I have used this app while writing arrangements for my class so I could slow music down while I transcribe.


ScoreCloud is an app I just learned about.  It is pretty amazing...all you have to do is sing a tune or play a song, and the app with notate what it hears in standard notation.  I am not sure how I will use this in my class yet, but I may come in handy on a unit about music composition.


Explain Everything is an app that I use quite frequently.  I do not have a document camera in my classroom, so I use this app by uploading my worksheets or files for my class and I project those things for all to see in front of the room.  The app allows me to explain assignments by drawing right on them on my iPad.  I have also created several presentations using Explain Everything.  I use it to teach key signatures, rhythms, bow distribution, practice strategy, note reading, and I use it for bellwork assignments.


I just found this Sightreading Machine app a few weeks ago and I am planning on using it in my orchestra class for warm-ups now and then.  This app generates short sight-reading excepts based on specific parameters that you can set.  I like that I can select only notes and rhythms that my students would know.  I am hoping students will enjoy this activity enough to download this app themselves and practice with it at home.  It is not very expensive and I feel students would really increase their note-reading and sightreading skills by practicing with this app.


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