2012 best tools for schools

Mike Lawson • Best Tools for Schools • March 9, 2012

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This past January, the 2012 NAMM Show was held in Anaheim, California. This annual musical instrument products convention typically attracts wpwards of 85,000 people, and this year more than 1,400 exhibitors came from across the country and around the world to present the most innovative and exciting new products in all areas of the musical universe, including instruments, accessories, software, and just about everything else anyone could possibly think of. While these products are aimed at a wide range of consumers, on display were countless items with educational value and of particular usefulness to classroom music educators.

For the third consecutive year, SBO was on hand with a team of educators to brave the din and glitz of the music products showcase with the goal of pinpointing and calling attention to the most practical and helpful tools for schools. Armed with ballots that included a number of relevant categories – from Best Tool for Young/Elementary Students to Best Teaching App – music educators at the convention nominated a wide array of companies and products, which were vetted by a panel of experts and made public in a special presentation on Sunday, January 22. SBO is proud to present the 2012 Best Tools for Schools from the 2012 NAMM Show.


Best Teaching Tool for Young/Elementary Students

Recorder ExpressRecorder Express by JoyTunes and Alfred Music Publishing

Recorder Express, an interactive videogame for elementary-level students by JoyTunes with accompanying method book by Alfred Music Publishing, is a fun and educational way to practice recorder using the actual instrument as the game’s controller.


Best Teaching Tool for Beginning Students

Pneumo Pro Wind DirectorPneumo Pro Wind Director by Blocki Flute

The Pneumo Pro is a simple and effective tool designed to teach beginning flute students proper embouchure for strong and consistent tone.


Best Teaching Tool for Intermediate Students

Jiggs pBoneJiggs pBone (Dist. by Conn-Selmer)

Made of lightweight plastic and available in four different colors, this relatively inexpensive trombone isn’t a toy; Tools for Schools panelists thought that the pBone sounds similar enough to a brass trombone that it would make for an economical alternative, at least for practice purposes.


Best Teaching Tool for Advanced Students

MusicalEar by MusicalEarMusicalEar by MusicalEar

MusicalEar is a versatile computer program designed to train aural skills and develop a better understanding of music for composition, theory, and arranging.  It can be used independently or with Sibelius.


Most Innovative Teaching Tool

Modality by MusiCreedModality by MusiCreed

A circular music slide designed to assist in teaching music theory, the Modality features interchangeable rotating discs that indicate the tones in a particular scale or mode.


Best Percussion Teaching Tool

Rhythm Watch RW105Rhythm Watch RW105 by Tama

This trusty metronome from Tama contains a myriad of helpful features for any musician looking to improve time-keeping skills.


Best Woodwind Teaching Tool

Versa X Ligature Educator Sample PackVersa-X Ligature Educator Sample Pack by Rovner

This assortment of mouthpieces from Rovner will make it particularly useful for educators to help students select the appropriate ligature.


Best Marching Band Teaching Tool

Silencer Mouthpiece MuteSilencer Mouthpiece Mute  by JazzLab

The Silencer is a simple mute that attaches to a mouthpiece, enabling saxophone and clarinet players in marching bands and other ensembles to warm wp quietly.


Best Jazz Teaching Tool

ChordWandChordWand by PianoWand

The ChordWand is a ruler that can be placed on a standard keyboard marking the notes in various scales.


Best Concert/Orchestra Teaching Tool

Acoustic Conditioning Panels by YamahaAcoustic Conditioning Panels by Yamaha

Yamaha’s Acoustic Conditioning Panels are thin, economical panels designed to improve acoustics in any room. The ACP’s moderate soundproofing qualities are an added bonus!


Best New Teaching App

Guitar ToolkitGuitarToolkit 2.0 by Agile Partners

This handy and recently wpdated app for iPhone and iPad includes a metronome, tuner, interactive chord sheets, and other indispensible tools for guitar players at every level.


Honorable mentions:

Tiggzi--Mobile-App--Builder-Tiggzi Mobile App Builder by Tiggzi


Symphony Pro app for iPadSymphony Pro app for iPad by Xenon Labs



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