Wednesday, September 21, 2011

iPad apps for Music Instruction

To say that I was thrilled to be receiving an iPad to use for school would definitely be an understatement. I received the device last week, and have been studiously researching (playing) apps and methods to use in the classroom.

Here are some things that I have been using daily in class (or out):

Safari - the default web browser is PERFECTLY set up for my needs when I am checking in the students weekly blog posts. I use another browser for my personal web browsing, but for class, Safari works great.

Blogger- This is the google issued blog writing app for the iOS platform. It is barebones, but functional.

Blogsy - a $4.99 blogging app that allows for much more creativity in posts -- bold, italic, colored text, strikethrough, etc. Not necessary for general use, but fun for me.

first-class- The app is so helpful for communication! I love it!

HT Recorder -- this app is AMAZING. And free! (Although I couldn't find the FREE app when I was searching for the link. Very strange.)  I record the band playing songs, and then when I work with the small group that was not able to fit it in the schedule, they can play along with the recording! Also useful for interpretation and analysis - did we achieve the musical style goals we had set?

ProTuner - another free app that is incredibly useful for a musician. It is a tuner! We used to spend $30 - 40 on a quality tuner, and now they are available as free apps. Unbelievable!

Tap Metronome - another incredible free app that replaces devices that would range in cost from $10 - 25. This app helps set the tempo (speed) that you wish to play, in a variety of different ways. Very useful for any musician.

There you have it- a basic list of the ways that I am using the iPad already in classes, and the apps that I use. I will go back and edit with links to the apps, if I can, and I will update the blog as I find more noteworthy apps to use.

Again - this blog post created using the Blogger app, but edited at the website on my MacBook.

Using blogs in the high school band setting

This summer I discovered something that really changed the way that I used my time, and allowed me to accomplish goals that I had set for myself. It is called the "3 in 30 Method."

Since it was so great for me on a personal level, I began to think about how useful it might be to high school students to help them with goal setting, and goal achieving.

I kept thinking about how we could make this work. I called a friend on staff at the high school (initials L.H.) that I knew already used blogs with her students, and I picked her brain about how she managed them in her classes.

Then I lined up the help of some of the tech savvy higher ups and we got all 33 students set up with their own blogs on blogger. We ran in to some interesting problems on the way, but persevered, and now all of the student blogs are up and running, using this "3 in 30" program that I mentioned.

The technology piece is exciting, but the real value of the assignment is watching the students take ownership of their musicianship. It is an exciting thing to watch! :)

Because we are now using the internet as a large part of the expectations in the class, even though we rarely use CLASS TIME to complete the assignments, the integration of 1 to 1 technology could NOT be coming at a better time. I was thrilled to learn that second semester, all of the students will have an internet ready device available to them.