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music technology

  • Music Is At Center Of Foxboro Middle School

    Mike Lawson | December 8, 2015

    As educators plan for the 21st century, there’s a big push to focus on STEM subjects. Some parents and teachers worry this will come at the expense of the arts but the town of Foxboro is making sure that isn’t happening there. As you watch these children gather instruments and focus their attention you might mistake this for a conservatory of music. But these are 5th graders at Ahern Middle School in Foxboro where music is at the center of the school.

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  • Sampling the Sampler in GarageBand on Your iPad

    Mike Lawson | May 19, 2015

    Garage Band Chapter header artEditor’s Note: GarageBand is a powerful tool for teaching musical composition and ideas to all levels of students. With the availability of GarageBand on the iPad and even iPhones, it has become a nearly-ubiquitous tool available to educators and students alike. Packing in multiple features such as MIDI, virtual instruments, multi-track recording, effects, and an array of signal processors, GarageBand hosts a wide variety of options available for shaping your sounds, and crafting fun and interesting projects for your students.

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  • AirTurn Introduces the DUO for Wireless Hands-Free Tablet Control

    Mike Lawson | May 7, 2015

    DUO from AirTurnAirTurn announces the DUO wireless 2-pedal foot controller for hands-free page turning, triggering effects, and other applications.

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  • MusicFirst and MatchmySound Release PracticeFirst Online Practice and Assessment Tool

    Mike Lawson | April 24, 2015

    PraciceFirst Screenshot - Valley SongPracticeFirst, the new online practice and assessment tool from MusicFirst and MatchmySound is now available.

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  • Technology Tools to Help Orchestra Students Develop Critical Thinking Skills

    Mike Lawson | January 26, 2015

    When I was a student, my teachers always stressed the importance of listening to myself in order to improve. I will admit that the thought of it wasn’t always pleasant, but once I got over the initial shock of listening to myself, I realized that recording oneself (or one’s group) is one of the best tools available for learning. Now, how do we do the same with our students? How do we teach them the critical thinking skills that go along with listening to themselves and making adjustments?

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  • Technology: Percussion Practice Software

    Mike Lawson | November 23, 2014

    ​​Did you know that there are over one million apps each on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Google Play store? And it’s not just that there’s a boat-load of apps to chose from, it’s that there seems to always be something being released that does the “it” better (or differently) than the others. Take drumming, for example. There are many apps that you can use to learn how to play rudiments, drum set, world percussion, and even mallet keyboards. Their goals may be similar, but different app developers harness unique features of the device and provide creative interaction that can make it seem engaging and useful for specific needs and learning styles. This month we’ll look at some apps that are geared toward learning rudimental and drum set performance.

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  • Technology: Rehearsal Software II

    Mike Lawson | September 17, 2014

    Practice software roundup #2: The Jazz Edition

     

    In my last article, we looked at three software packages used for performance training. These practice aids have advanced assessment options that “listen” to the performer and evaluate for correct pitch and rhythm. While each has its strengths and weaknesses, they all could find a place in the student’s toolkit of practice aids.

    SmartMusic, the most full-featured of the three, provides an ever-growing library of titles of both solo and ensemble music as well as a cloud-based grade book solution for the teacher. The cost, while not outrageous, is a subscription model that the student would need to pay every year in order to gain access to the SmartMusic library.

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  • Exploring New Electronic Keyboards

    Mike Lawson | August 14, 2014

    Manufacturers discuss the latest keyboard tools for the music classroom

    The integration of powerful new software has changed the way many sectors of the music industry have done business, from recording software to live sound and lighting and even at-home guitar rig design. But one segment that’s been poised to take advantage of this shift for years is electric keyboards, specifically those designed in tandem with educational programs.

    For both educators and students, it’s all about options, according to Roland key accounts manager Ellen Gonzales. “We, as a consumer nation, have changed the way that we consume things,” she says. “We’re not just looking for things that we can buy to use today. We want something that can grow with us. Just think of iPads – people buy them and then constantly upgrade and add to them. I do think that’s a trend that won’t go away and it’s wise to play into that mentality.”

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  • Technology: Ear Training

    Mike Lawson | August 14, 2014

    Six ear training programs for classroom and at-home use

    "Garbage in, garbage out” is a guiding mantra for building computers and apps. It’s also true for our students’ brains. We are in the business of empowering young minds with healthy, useful information. Thanks to significant new developments, music educators can effectively combine music theory and aural training to empower students with ownership of their music creating experiences.

    Ear training can cover a broad spectrum of useful music tools. These include pitch recognition, intonation, rhythmic drills, harmonic understanding of how music fits together vertically, better understanding of triads, complex chords, intervals, scale recognition, and how chord progressions are linked together.

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  • Technology: Rehearsal Software

    Mike Lawson | July 21, 2014

    Practice Software Roundup #1

     

    "Practice makes perfect!" That’s what my fourth-grade band director said as I struggled to play a BH major scale on my trombone. Practicing was boring – and quite frankly, the only thing I wanted to do was play the glissando at the end of the song. Now that was fun! But practice I did. In between weekly lessons, I diligently went through the scales, exercises, and songs from the Rubank Method book each day, never really sure if I was doing anything correctly because I was too wrapped up in the process of playing; holding the horn, moving the slide, breathing, embouchure, and so on. This was way too much for a fourth grader to be thinking about, let alone evaluating what was coming out at the end of the bell.

    Wouldn’t it have been great if there were somebody or something that could listen to me practice and at least tell me if what I was playing was correct? Well, today, with the ever-increasing power of computers, the patient “listener” can sit beside your students and let them know if they’ve played correctly – to a point. Let’s look at three software applications that purport to do just that.

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  • Technology: Drill Prep Apps

    Mike Lawson | June 18, 2014

    The secrets to OSU’s paperless marching band rehearsals, increased efficiency, and much more

    Have you ever dreamt of a paperless marching band rehearsal, perhaps during a windy day that had printouts flying across the field? Or thought about a way to decrease the time and expense of printing and coordinating sheets for every step and set of a drill design for each student? Fortunately, technology can now make these dreams a reality. New apps for iPads and Androids make paperless instruction easy, so you can funnel all of your creative energy directly into the marching band show.

    The marching band at The Ohio State University took the world by storm when their extraordinary marching routines of Michael Jackson’s moonwalk and T-Rex walking across the field were featured on national TV news spotlights. Their innovative introduction of iPads on the rehearsal field paid off. The band’s Oct. 26 performance of “Hollywood Blockbusters,” including Jurassic Park, has received more than 15 million views on YouTube:

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  • Report: Online Lesson Opportunities

    Mike Lawson | April 21, 2014

    From video curricula to videoconferencing, technology expands the options for private instruction  

     

    Having a hard time finding good private lesson teachers in your area? While that used to be a major obstacle for school band and orchestra directors, particularly those in more remote locations, innovation in what is now commonplace technology has dramatically shifted the private lesson landscape. Remote lessons and interactive learning through videoconferencing, video instruction, and related online offerings have created an incredible opportunity for sharing information, no matter where students and teachers may be located.

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