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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A couple of useful apps for the orchestra classroom

I love finding apps that are actually useful in my classroom.  Students love apps, and they frequently get themselves the apps that I use in my classroom...which is great because it helps them learn!

Yesterday, I began class doing bow exercises to music that I created with the app called Jelly Band.

Then I explained to students how an ensemble works...that you have to be able to count your own part even through there are other parts going on at the same time.  This turned into a little improv/composition activity where we instantly created our own little version of a jelly band.  I started with the basses and gave them a basic rhythm to pluck on open D.  I then gave each section a little rhythm to repeat using notes from a D chord.  The end result sounded pretty cool...we were jamming and doing improv at the same time.  This really helped pique my students interest to composing and I will probably do a follow-up activity where they actually notate a little 'jelly band' piece that they create.

The next app I am liking is called Rhythm Cat.

I show this app on my projector and the whole class can clap the rhythms while one student actually plays the game....I have never had a class learn basic rhythm so quickly.  If only there was a good note-reading app.  (Well, I do like flashnote derby, but it doesn't have alto clef.)