This week’s reading focused on how students learn to play, sing, read, and notate music. In the beginning of chapter four Bauer discusses technology that can help motivate students to practice on their own. He mentions one specific program in length, SmartMusic (p. 83). Personally, do not use that program for accompaniment purposes because I have advanced piano skills. If I am not playing the piano, I can record the accompaniments using the Audacity program and play it back for the students. However, as I was reading, I was thinking that SmartMusic would be very beneficial for my students who attend solo and ensemble and all-state festivals. Bauer (p. 84) mentions that the SmartMusic program can help to develop proper practice habits. Using this program might help make it easier for me to assess my students’ progress as well. Not only could this program be useful for these special types of events, but perhaps I could use it for sectional rehearsals when I can’t always be in the room with the students.
I agree with Bauer on the importance of using visuals while teaching to help the learners comprehend the material. Never would I have thought that using an audio waveform as a visual would be beneficial to students. Audacity is a program that I am very comfortable using for playing back accompaniments. After reading this chapter, I would like to try to make a recording of my students rehearsing a particular piece and use that waveform for the students to develop their understanding of dynamic contrast. While the conductor typically wants students to focus on him or her, using audacity students can watch the music as they are recording it and adjust their performance as they go along. This will help enhance their listening skills to develop musicality and blend in an ensemble.
This chapter presented using technology in such a way that seems very simple. One of the complaints that I always hear about technology is how much time it takes to figure out and integrate it into the classroom. The technologies, and suggestions for how to use them, do not seem as if they would take an extraordinary amount of time to utilize. In fact, a lot of the technology was student driven. The Audacity program presented does takes less than two to three minutes to set up and get ready to record. This is something that teachers could do minutes before students walk in to class. I appreciate how this chapter presented using technology in such a way that did not seem intimidating.
Bauer, W.I. (2014). Music learning today: Digital pedagogy for creating, performing, and responding to music. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.