Web-based Tools for Your Middle School Music Classroom
Yesterday, I blogged about presenting to the music educators (elementary general and vocal and middle school general and vocal) of Howard County Public School System. I wrote about the websites that enhance the elementary music classroom. Today, I am blogging about web-based tools for the middle school music classroom.
To prepare for this session, I enlisted the assistance of Richard McCready, music educator extraordinaire and 2013 TI:ME Teacher of the Year, because his work with music technology at the middle and high school levels is excellent. With his help, I was able to present the following web-based tools to the middle school music educators:
- I began by showing some music educators’ sites that included choral accompaniments that were used to assist the chorus in rehearsing parts when they are not at school. I also showed http://www.cpdl.org, the choral public domain library, where you can find free choral/vocal scores, texts, translations, and other useful information.
- I then showed them the benefits of youtube, with also showcasing how advertisements and comments can be distracting, to say the least. This moved us into exploring safeshare.tv, where you can take the youtube video’s url and safeshare will create a “safe link”. When you click on this “safe link,” your web browser opens a new tab that will show the youtube video without comments and advertisements. I utilize safeshare.tv often as many of the videos I would like to show in music class contain inappropriate advertisements and comments.
- I showed them some of themusicinteractive items appropriate for middle school like rhythm dictation.
- I then highlighted the website from Karen Garrett, the TI:ME 2006 Teacher of the Year, musictechteacher.com, I showed the lessons and games, especially the rhythm hoop shoot,
which is one of my favorites even if I am terrible at scoring a basket. Karen has an amazing site that holds a tremendous amount of resources, lessons, worksheets, quizzes, and games, all created by her.
- We moved onto cloud-based web tools to enhance the middle school music classroom. I showed spotify and noteflight and gave examples of how these two tools, free or paid subscriptions, could enhance the classroom. Spotify has a music library of approximately 20 million songs (October, 2012) where you can make playlists, follow other users, utilize the radio feature and more. It is free with advertisements, $4.99/month without advertisements, and $9.99/month to listen on all of your mobile devices as well as your computer. With this service being cloud-based, it is wonderful for a music educator as he/she can access his/her playlists from any computer. Noteflight is a popular online composition application that can be accessed from any computer or mobile device. My students as young as second grade can easily use noteflight to compose music. The free version allows you to create up to ten compositions with up to fifteen instruments. There are other versions from individual to educational. I adore that noteflight can export the students’ compositions as .xml, .mid. or .wav files. When we export them as .mid files, we easily move them into garageband and create accompaniments to the melodies we composed with noteflight.
- I showed soundcloud and how music educators are using that to stream their live recordings, such as rehearsals, for many to follow and hear.
- Richard and I showed soundation, which was termed by one music educator in the room as,”garageband in the cloud.” I showed how to record your voice and use the pre-recorded loops to accompany the vocal track. Richard showed the many audio effects that soundation comes with as well as inputting music and exporting the recordings. Richard also reminded everyone that MusicFirst offers great deals on could-based software like noteflight and soundation. It was great to present this portion of the session with Richard.
- I ended with showing music theory websites like Ricci Adams’s musictheory.net and teoria.com (which has the option to toggle between Spanish and English), an ear training site, The Musical Intervals Tutor (this is a good website for all music educators to test their own ear training), the social networking sites for music educators, and music educators’ pages on pinterest.
All of the materials from my session can be found at my website: http://www.amymburns.com, click on “Websites/Software”.
Amy M. Burns is an elementary music educator, clinician, author, and musician. She currently works at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ teaching PreK through Grade 3 general music, grade 5 instrumental music, and grades 4-8 instrumental band. She is the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom, Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a SMART Board, and Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! She is also an author for Online Learning Exchange™ Interactive Music powered by Silver Burdett. She has given numerous presentations on integrating technology into the elementary music classroom as well as being a keynote speaker for music technology conferences in Texas, Indiana, St. Maarten, and Australia. She is the recipient of the 2005 TI:ME Teacher of the Year Award, the 2016 NJ Master Music Teacher Award, the 2016 NJ Governor’s Leader in Arts Education Award, and the 2017 Non-Public School Teacher of the Year Award. You can find out more about Amy at her website: amymburns.com