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Friday, April 24, 2015

Week 6 Reflection - Responding to Music

This chapter discussed the ways in which people respond to music. The content that focused on the difference between hearing music and listening to music was interesting to me. Hearing music is simply the basic awareness of sounds around you. Listening to music is the attentiveness to those sounds and making meaning out of them (Bauer, 2014, p. 107). Bauer (p.107) also mentions that listening to music is contextual in that music listening is usually done while performing some other activity such as driving the car, or doing household chores. I remember back in the first week of class when we had to conduct interviews with our students and peers about their use of technology. Most of my students mentioned that they used their devices primarily for social networking but secondly for listening to music. Every student mentioned that they like to listen to music while they are performing some other task.
                The blog that I user for this class, www.herrerachoralprogram.blogspot.com is my actual classroom website. Before this class, this website rarely was utilized and was there for parents to look at if they ever felt inclined to do so. Through this course I have generated some ideas about how to use the blog to the advantage of my students in the future. Bauer (2014, p. 112) suggest that teachers could create playlists for students to listen to while they are out of school. Since a lot of music listening is done in conjunction with something else, I could encourage the students to play the music from the prescribed playlist while they are performing some other task. When the discussion occurs in class about the music they heard, perhaps the students will be more open to discuss their observations of the music itself.
                Reading the remainder of chapter five, I appreciated that Bauer not only emphasized the use of technology, but he discussed ways in which this technology can be applied in the classroom. For instance, Bauer discusses the two standard ways to conceptualize the nature of knowledge; declarative, and procedural (2014, p. 115). Focused more on the declarative side of knowledge, Bauer laid out methods in which technology can be used to facilitate this type of knowledge in the classroom setting. Not only that, he was also very specific with the types of music content he presented using this technology for. After reading this chapter, I feel like I am walking away with several new ideas for music lessons in my class. I also feel like that I have some general ideas on the methods I would use to present this content and make my lessons more students drive and teacher facilitated.

Reference

Bauer, W.I. (2014). Music learning today: Digital pedagogy for creating, performing, and responding to music. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Week 5 Reflection

This week’s reading focused on assessments and instructional design. Bauer (2014, p. 147) discusses that people learn in contextual, active, social, and reflective ways. What I appreciated about this information was how Bauer described each type of learning and gave an example of how technology and can enhance each type of learning. Learning does not only happen on one’s own, it also happens when people interact with each other. This is known as “social cognitive learning” (Bauer, p. 148). Reading this, it made think about our composition project for next school year. I think I will have the students work together and use one of the website or free program resources provided throughout this course. Each student will be given an opportunity to critique someone else’s work and receive feedback on their own work. Perhaps doing these types of projects together may help promote student-directed learning.
It was during a professional development workshop this year that I heard about project-based-learning for the first time. Since then, I have often wondered how this method of learning could be incorporated into my general music classroom. The examples listed by Bauer (2014, p. 151) gave me some great ideas and starting points for incorporating PBL in my classroom for next year. Often times, some of 4th and 6th grade classes are relatively small due to students being pulled out for band or orchestra. PBL would be great for those small classes. It would be easy for me to find computers for them to use because I would not have to require a lot of equipment. Also, this may take away from the intimidation factor of being in a small class.
Bauer (2014, p. 137) mentions three types of assessment that can be used when evaluating students; checklists, rating scales, and rubrics. I agree with Bauer that checklists are useful but only signify a minimal level of understanding. In my teaching, I have found that simple checklists are valuable when doing an informal formative assessment at the sub-objective level. I like to use rubrics when doing a formative assessment of an entire lesson or a summative assessment of an entire unit. Rubrics are very effective when assessing students because they are based on specific criteria which are outlined in the rubric itself. This school year, I actually had my students help me create the rubric, using an online rubric generator, and used that to critique our concert. We reviewed the elements of vocal singing that we have worked on and placed them into a rubric. In doing this, I noticed the feedback I received from the students was much more descriptive and accurate than in years past.
Overall, I feel like Bauer did a nice job of explaining how technology can be used to enhance each style of learning. Also, technology can used to assess learning and the examples and ideas provided have given me some new insights into my future teaching. Not only that, I have found that the technology that I have used to date, has been beneficial to my students’ education. While I continue to explore more technology, I am finding more and more value in using it.

References

Bauer, W.I. (2014). Music learning today: Digital pedagogy for creating, performing, and responding to music. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Herrera Junior High Concert Choir warming up before performing for the Arizona Choral Educators (ACE) Adjudication Festival. 
Saturday, April 11th 
Mesa, Arizona

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. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Week 4 reflection

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.

References

Bauer, W.I. (2014). Music learning today: Digital pedagogy for creating, performing, and responding to music. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.