Time is a Barometer of Success: More Shortcuts with Music Suite and Notation Applications Part Three of Four

Mike Lawson • Archives • April 27, 2007

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Technology is supposed to make it easier and faster to accomplish tasks. And, in theory, music software applications can be worth their weight in gold. But there is an important issue to consider: the learning curve. This may challenge even the experienced among us. To counteract this, consider using suite applications. This allows different software applications to employ the same user interface, making mastery of the product much easier and more direct. Microsoft Office 97, 2000, 2002, 2003 and now the Microsoft Office 2007 suites are good examples for a business/office application. Many modules are seamlessly integrated – such as Microsoft Word, Access, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, among others – with data compatibility and the same user-interface.

Model Suite Concept for Music Educators
In a perfect world in terms of software development, an integrated suite is the most efficient way for busy music educators to teach several different software applications. However, most software applications are modular and proprietary. This means you have to learn different keystrokes between several software applications such as notation, sequencing, film scoring, et cetera. But now there is an Australian product that is attempting to set the global standard for all music software manufacturers. This powerful product seamlessly integrates six different instructional applications together with one user interface for the music education market. It is called Mastering Music, by Datasonics (www.datasonics.com.au).

There are some unique features that help Mastering Music stand apart. In one integrated package, Mastering Music teaches lessons in composing, publishing, digital audio, music theory, ear training and film scoring. And the learning curve is refreshingly short. 430 comprehensive tutorial lessons guide the user through various musical activities, with hyperlinks in the lessons that link to a help page containing text, pictures and video tutorials that tell-and-show how to complete the activities. Using this approach, it doesn’t take an “expert” to see results. Self-paced learning lets students move at a speed suited to their level of ability and experience. A V.I.P. introduction to Mastering Music is available online (www.datasonics.com.au/mmusavideo.html). You, the music educator, can spend time with students who need more direct supervision, while the majority of students will be able to work well on their own. The latest version of Mastering Music (7) includes a student log. As each student works through the lesson material, a log is generated containing which lessons were worked on, session times, and results achieved. Each student’s log file is in XML format and can be viewed using the log viewer. The teacher can access these to prepare reports on the student’s progress, or the logs can be accumulated to produce assessment reports.

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