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Coming in at the #1 tech tool elementary concert prep is presentation applications. These are applications like powerpoint, keynote, google slides, and SMART Notebook.
Why Presentation Applications?
If you look through Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT), you will notice that many of the manipulatives are powerpoint files. When I researched why this is, it was noted that powerpoint is an application that most elementary music educators have to use to display song lyrics, activities, rhythm patterns, etc. Since I have a SMART Board, I have become addicted to their application called Notebook. I love Notebook because you can easily add links to other pages in the file and add music and videos. In addition, since Notebook has music notes built into it, you can easily create rhythm patterns in this application (see figure 1). Since a high percentage of elementary music educators have access to presentation applications and know how to use them, it comes in as #1 on this list.
Learning the Concert Songs
Powerpoint, Keynote, Notebook, and Google Slides all can be used by the elementary music educator to create projections of music, lyrics, pictures, rhythm patterns, and more, to assist the students in learning the songs. If you travel between schools or classrooms, you can save these files in your google drive, dropbox, or in your planbook (planbook.com allows you to attach your teaching files to the planner). When you go into another classroom, you can open them as long as the device your using has the app you need to open the file. If you are one who travels a lot, I would highly suggest making your manipulatives in google slides so that you can open them from any device that has internet access.
Ditch the Concert Program
Years ago, we decided to stop xeroxing programs and project each song on a powerpoint slide. Each slide would include the title of the song, the composer, the names of the musicians that accompany the song, and the grades of the singers who are featured singing the song. If there was a soloist, the slide would feature the name of the soloist. This worked well as we no longer had 200+ programs discarded after the concert. We also included the option that if parents wanted a program, they could contact the music teacher to send them a copy.
After a few years, we decided to add a narrator to introduce each song. This way, the video and the
narrative provided a great and natural transition into each song. If my students were about to put on sunglasses for Teresa Jenning’s “Santa Claus Rock,” the slide and narrative provided the necessary transition so we could easily and quietly hand out the sunglasses. Our narrator was a teacher; however, if you have capable students, have them narrate. If you do this, make sure you have students who will be at the concert and a few students who could easy narrate if the narrators are absent from the concert.
To do this, you need a presentation application on a device, a projector, and a screen. I would not choose to airplay the projection as the network could skip. I would hardwire into the projector.
What do you do if you have students who cannot participate in music class during concert preparation? Technology can be a great tool to give those students an opportunity to learn music. On my website, I have a thorough list of sites for several purposes. Some of these sites, like the NY Phil Kidszone, can be used as musical activities for a student to work on since they cannot participate in class. Check out that resource here.
A webinar will appear here and on my website tomorrow. The webinar will feature the tools included on this list. You can view it in its entirety or just catch the parts that you want to see. As I wrote a in a previous post, this list is not meant for elementary music educators to use all 11 tools at once. It is a buffet of tools like a buffet of desserts. You do not want to eat everything in the buffet. It is for elementary music educators to decide their concert goals and then see if there is a tool on this list that best fits that concert goal.
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