iPads in the Elementary Music Classroom: Day 4 – Composition, Ear Training, and Recorder/Keyboard Apps
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During today’s class, we explored apps for composition, ear training, and for practicing recorder/keyboard. The composition apps that we explored were Noteflight (HTML5), NotateMe Now, and ScoreCloud. We had experienced Noteflight through the website and compared it to our experience with the app. For elementary students, using Noteflight on the computer is more successful than using it on the iPad because it is easier to place notes on the staff when using the website and easier to export it as an audio file to be placed in another program. However, the app is still a good app and Noteflight is a great product. It is intuitive, young students can successfully compose with it, and it saves everything in the cloud. NotateMe Now is a composition app that you can use your finger or a stylus to write music. Though it has a lot of potential, in its current state, it would prove to be frustrating for elementary students to use due to how challenging it is to write notation in this app. The ScoreCloud app can successfully notate your singing (using a clean tone with no vibrato). Plus, the recording on your mobile device saves immediately into the free downloadable notation software on your computer. This app and software have potential as well, but a good network connection is needed in order for the app to analyze your singing. All three products offer free to paid subscription options. When reading about notation apps for the iPad, Notion by Presonus and Noteflight have been the ones that have had the most positive reviews.
The ear training apps we explored ranged from Do Re Mi 123 to Melodic Circles. Our favorites were Do Re Mi 123 because we could create vocal warmups in solfege and boomwhacker colors, and Blob Chorus. Blob Chorus is challenging due to how chromatic the blobs sing and that the students would sing an incorrect note to make the blob explode. However, Kelly, a music educator in the class, pointed out that if you played the game with two blobs and gave the students the option to choose the blob that is correctly matching pitch or choose the blob that is not (when they do not match pitch, they explode, which students will love!), then the students would still be listening accurately.
The recorder and keyboard apps we experienced make it more interesting for students when practicing. In addition, recorder apps from AtPlayMusic include virtual recorders through their fingering charts. The virtual recorder is a wonderful way for students who have difficulties covering the holes or holding the instrument, to play the recorder.
Tomorrow is our last day, which will summarize the course.
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