It’s no secret that today’s classroom music teachers are facing challenges as never before. Students have constant distractions, impossible schedules and widening social and economic barriers that make a universal approach to learning extremely difficult. Budget cuts are forcing teachers to find new (and less expensive) ways to give students a basic competency in music education and fewer private corporations are interested in supporting these critical programs. In short, classroom music teachers and their administrators are struggling harder than ever to do more with fewer resources in a field that is becoming more and more specialized.
That is where technology comes in.
As countless young people have demonstrated through their inventions and problem-solving spirits, today’s students are making technology work for them as no previous generations ever have. It is the language they all share, and a potential “perfect solution” to deficiencies in program budgets AND customized curriculum.
Increasing Musical APPtitude
Most modern classrooms have an iPad… or at least the budget to pick up a nicely refurbished one. With the right APPs, your iPad can dramatically change your students’ classroom experience. Here are just a few FREE (or VERY inexpensive) APPs for your classroom:
- Note Recognition Practice: Treble Cat or Roland’s Piano Every Day
- Music Theory Work: Ultimate Music Theory or Music Theory Puzzles
- Ear Training Exercises: Roland’s Piano Every Day or Blob Chorus
- Music Worksheets: Sproutbeat
- Rhythm Training: Most Addictive Sheep Game or Beat Sneak Bandit
- Music Appreciation: Pandora or Piano Jukebox
- Interactive Learning/Homework: Kahoot
For a complete list of the APPs we recommend, visit our Pinterest page. Each of the above programs are designed to help you speed up learning, increase customization and quickly build musical competency. …and none of them require a large budgetary commitment. Who knows? Maybe you can get a handful of refurbished iPads and create an APP learning center in your classroom. Students could switch off from group learning to individual APPtitude training… and you will see massive improvement in your classroom outcomes – not to mention behavior (only students who behave will have access to the fun, individualized iPad stations…)! You might be amazed at how powerful these programs are in your classroom!
Decreasing Your Workload
You don’t have to be a strong pianist to create your own custom exercises, vocalizes or musical accompaniments. With the proper MIDI tools, you can create basic music slowly (sometimes one finger at a time) and then speed them up in the classroom. Nobody will know! You can also access online MIDI libraries like Yamaha’s Disklavier Education Network’s Signature MIDI collection and enjoy FREE access to the classics! You can even walk around your room and control the playback for both MIDI and AUDIO files wirelessly with Bluetooth!
We’re going to cover this in greater detail in a later blog, but all you need is a good quality digital piano with Bluetooth MIDI and AUDIO built-in. Right now, we recommend the Roland HP-704. Here are just a few reasons why:
- ZERO cost to maintain (no tuning!)
- Bluetooth (wireless) MIDI and AUDIO control.
- Lightweight and easy to move.
- Headphones ports (both sizes).
- Customizable piano sound.
- AUDIO in and OUT ports (for PA systems or amp)
- Reinforced cabinet with front legs.
- Anti-microbial keys (to prevent germ transmission)
- 10 YEAR Parts and Labor Warranty!
…and you’d be stunned at how affordable a piano like this is!
Use all of the APPs we discussed earlier – plus countless more! You can also control software programs like Garage Band, Finale and Sibelius. You can play for concerts or pre-record your music and control it all with an iPad as you walk around the room. …and you can have – at your fingertips – the largest music library on the planet! You’ll wonder how you ever got anything done without it!
A Productive Partnership
Riverton Piano Company has a 50+ year history helping music teachers in the Western US accomplish their pedagogical goals with shrinking resources, and we’re here to help you! Need some help learning a new APP? Looking for portable recording tools, rhythm trainers or battery-operated PA systems? We can help you find the technology tools you need – AND help you fund them!
Let’s start a conversation on how we can best meet your school’s needs. Give me a call at 480-221-1296 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s look at all the ways our technology tools can help you and your music program flourish in these difficult times. I look forward to hearing from you!