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Sunday, April 12, 2015

                Chromatik is a program that allows users to find sheet music relatively easy, and free of cost. The program also allows the user to listen to the music and follow along in the score. The user may then begin practicing their piece. Options to record and video yourself are available through this program. Users can share their recordings to their instructor and/or any other listener and receive feedback and track their progress. This application has a metronome, tuner, editing materials, and recording materials available to aid in practicing. The user can actually make notes on the online score. Navigating through this program is relatively easy. Finding the metronome, and tuner, and getting those set to where they are needed is not a difficult process.
                From a personal standpoint, SmartMusic just looks fun! SmartMusic seems to be geared more toward education. Students can look at their individual part, and practice it. The computer will follow along and make note of any mistakes that are made. Students can see which notes they played incorrectly, and which notes played early, or late. If a student has a question about specific fingerings, there is a pop-up window which will display the fingering patter for a particular note. This program also allows students to loop certain sections of the music in order to master those particular sections. Proper practice habits can be developed using this program. See the picture below from www.smartmusic.com to see where these functions can be found. Navigating through the website seemed relatively simple, but I do not have a subscription to the program, so I cannot attest to the simplicity of working through it. The band director in the educational video mentioned that the program is relatively simple to use.

                Both of these programs can be very useful to use in the classroom. SmartMusic and Chromatik can be used to supply sheet music to students. Chromatik is a free application that students, teachers, and parents can download and SmartMusic comes with a price. However, with that price, more music is available on SmartMusic than Chromatik. Each one comes equipped with a metronome and tuner to help students stay in time, and play or sing in tune. SmartMusic will visually show students where the mistakes were made and where attention needs to be focused. Chromatik does not offer that assistance but it still aids in the development of proper practice habits.
                The downside to using Chromatic is that most of the options that aid in practicing such as the metronome, tuner, and recording devices, are only available on the application version, not the web version. While most of my students have a smartphone, iPad, or tablet, not all of them have access to that equipment. However, students that do have that equipment could easily use this application to help themselves. SmartMusic is available using the web. Not all of my students have access to a computer at home but they all have access to the computer lab at the school. They could even use the computer in the music room. SmartMusic is designed for the education classroom. Students can access parts of a band, orchestra, or choral score and practice their individual parts. Students can even find method book resources on there as well. Chromatik offers more solo repertoire, and popular culture literature, which is still valuable to the education of students.


                 Both of these programs offer methods of assessment for students. Chromatik allows the students to record small fifteen second clips of sound, or video. The teacher can listen and watch and give feedback on the progress of their students. SmartMusic allows the teacher to give assignments to the students, and then the students can complete the assignment. As the students are working on the assignment, SmartMusic will give immediate feedback and once students are satisfied with their quality of work, they can submit the assignment up to the teacher for the teacher to give feedback. 

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