Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fingering Trainer IV

Here is another fingering trainer that I found.  This fingering trainer is for violin.  Click here to check out the link.  This one works very similar to the one for Clarinet, where the student selects the correct fingering for the pitch that is displayed.  Below you can see what it looks like.

Unlike the other trainer, you can actually select the key that you want to work on and the fingerings will coincide with the finger pattern for that specific key. On the example below, you can see that the fingerings are going to be selected from G Major.  So only the notes of G Major are highlighted on the screen.  This also helps reinforce Key Signature recognition.

 After the key is selected, the user simple clicks on the "start" button and the trainer begins.  Below is what that looks like.

The student now clicks on the appropriate string and tape position of the note asked for and the results are instantly recorded.  The amount completed, number of errors, total score, and time are all recorded.  It is a fun challenge to see how fast the students can accurately complete the fingerings.

Fingering Trainer III

Here is some more on fingering trainer.  The picture below illustrates how the correct answer is displayed.  One cool thing about the answer that is given is that  the student can see all of the alternate fingerings available for the specific note.  The first one is the standard fingering and then the other options (labled 2 3 4 )  This feature is really nice because it shows the students all of the possibilities for fingerings.

The page will show overall achievement of the student by giving the student's percentage and score for all questions answered.  Below is a shot of what the complete screen that the student sees looks like.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Finering Trainer II

So there are many fingering charts out there for people to use as references.  You can see some examples if you click here.  Most of them are simple charts with the fingerings marked, which although it's helpful, it's not interactive and certainly isn't as fun as one of the finger trainer sites.  Here is what most fingering charts look like.

As you can see from the chart, it is pretty basic and does offer some alternate fingerings, however, it isn't an effective tool for students to be able to test themselves.

Finger Trainer I

Here is a fantastic tool that I found to help students with their fingers.  Lots of beginning, and even more advanced students, often have trouble remember fingerings for certain notes.  Although fingerings can be found in fingering charts there isn't always a good way to have students test their understanding of fingerings on their own.  With Fingering Trainer, students can have an interactive activity in which to practice their knowledge.  The fingering trainer allows the student to highlight the appropriate keys or fingers used to play a note that is asked of them.  After they select the fingering that they think is correct, they click the submit button to see the results.  Below is a shot of the home interface.

 As you can see, it is a real image of the instrument and the student simply highlights the keys used.  In this case, the note asked for is a C natural.  There is also an option for a bonus question that asks if the note is usually Flat, Sharp, or in Tune naturally on the instrument.  In the picture below you can see what it looks like when the students has made their choice for the correct fingering.  The keys are highlighted in blue.

Once the selection is made and the student clicks the submit button.  The correct answer appears.  I can see students being able not only to test themselves but being able to work with classmates to help each other with some practice that would be note only fun, but helpful for reinforcing instrument fingers.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Prezi IV

Exploring prezi has been great fun and I have found that there is a bit more to prezi than just a simple presentation tool.  You can use prezi to create a kind of social networking with friends.  You can create and send prezis as greeting cards and announcements.  The customization of a prezi seems to be almost limitless.  There is a very useful blog about prezi that you can read about all of the amazing things that people are doing with prezis.  To view the blog click here.    Here is a video of prezi "meeting" being used in a school setting.

I'm seeing there with this expansion of prezi as more than just a presentation tool, that students can let their imaginations and creativity run free to create information portfolios, shared tools that can be used and added to by other students in creating a common chain of information.

Tonometrics III

I've moved on the the rhythm generator of the tonometrics site and found that this application is rather difficult to master.  The test plays a rhythmic segment for you to listen to then, plays it a second time that may or may not have a very slight variation in the rhythm.  It is up to you to then decide if the rhythms were the same or different by clicking the correct button as illustrated below:

Normally I would think that this is a great skills test, however, the rhythms are quite complex and the instrumentation if very dense which makes it very difficult to distinguish the subtle changes in rhythm.  I think for this particular test to be useful in my classroom I would like the rhythms to be more simplistic and that the density of instrumentation be much MUCH less.  This part of tonometrics I don't find to be very well developed.  It's just like jumping to the end novel without reading the opening so there was nothing to build on.  You can go here to try your luck.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Note Flight IV

In addition to scale warm-ups, we also build chords and try to play the different chords of a given key.  With the notation system generator noteflight, I can now create my own chord progressions for the group to use an play.  Each instrument and be assigned a specific note of the chord to play.  Not only can noteflight generate a score which you can see below, but it will also generate individual instrument parts so that the students can have their own part to play from.  A great tool that is useful and much more meaningful for instruction than purchasing a method book that often has material that is either not useful or redundant.

Music Theory part IV

So I've created another customized theory exercise.  This one has to deal with interval identification which is crucial for basic musical understanding.  I was able to create an exercise that the students would be able to use to identify basic musical intervals.  You can go here to see the exercise.  I've also taken a screen shot and put it below.

 As with the key signature identification exercise, the students can select their answer and get immediate feedback on their results.  If the students get stuck, then they can simple click the "reveal answer" button to see the correct response.

Music Theory part III

So often I find that students have trouble identifying key signatures.  With they have plenty of exercises and lessons that students can use to practice their skills.  The one great thing about about the program is that I can customize the exercises to meet my students needs.  The students can even go in an create their own exercises.  Since the middle school curriculum only covers up to four sharps and flats for key signatures, I can create exercises that only cover these keys and leaves out the other keys.  Of course I can add them back in if the students have mastered the current required content.  Go here to see my customized version.  I've also added this screen shot below so that you can see what the exercise looks like.

The students simple click on the key that they think is represented and the program tells them if it is correct or not and also keeps a tally of how well they are doing.  If the student doesn't know what the key is, they can simply select the "reveal answer" button to get the answer.

Note Flight III

As part of my warm-ups in orchestra I often have the students play scales.  We will play scales in straight patterns as well as a variety of other ways.  One of the ways that we do this is in a form of a round.  This requires the students to really listen to each other to make sure that they are playing in tune.  The younger students in 6th grade often have trouble understanding what is required from them at first.  So here is a one octave scale in C major that I made on noteflight so that I could give it to the students so that they could see what to do.

With this music that was created with noteflight, I'm able to customize what I need for my classes.  Students would also be able to go to noteflight and create their own exercises.  This has been a great tool for my classroom.

Prezi III

The one thing about prezi that I thought was interesting is that my students could keep their prezi on the site and that other students could have access to it.  However, I have found that unless the prezi is loaded with information, that it may not always make sense to someone else.  At least for presentation purposes, unless the creator is taking you through it, the prezi may not be much help.  So it would be important that the students would know how to make a prezi that has complete information on it so that it could be useful as a stand alone tool.  Below is my prezi on spiccato.  It is designed in such a way that it may not make sense to someone that wasn't well versed in bowing techniques.  I sent it to one of my colleagues who found it useful, but she knew what the presentation was trying to illustrate.  So it is important that students think very carefully about the design.

Tonometrics II

After working with the tonometrics site for a while I find that it really can be useful for the music student.  The pitch recognition tool is very good for having students fine tune their ability to make subtle distinctions between pitches.  It really forces the user to pay close attention to the slight variations presented.  It was easy to use and as the success rate increased so did the difficulty level.  Like wise, if the user is not having much success, the program gets easier so that skills can be improved.  The interface is simple to use by simply clicking the "lower" or "higher" button depending on the pitch.  You can also replay the pitch as many times as needed.

 At the end of the program, your success rate is displayed and you can see just how well you did.

  So it does give useful and immediate feedback. You can go here to test your skills.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Something that I found that I think has some very practical use for the music student is a site called  Tonometrics are  neuroscience-based tests that students can take to test their ability to differentiate musical concepts such as pitch and rhythm.  You can take the test as often as you want and it can really be used as a good practice tool to fine tune skills in tonal and rhythmic identification.  Although the site isn't very "flashy" and seems to be a bit sterile, I think that it offers some really nice practice for students of music to test and refine their basic skills.

Loop Labs II

Hey here is something cool about loop labs that I just found out.  Not only can you use the pre-sampled tracks that are already in loop labs, but you can record and add your instruments and/or vocals as part of the program.  This is great for the classroom where you may want your students to create a piece where they use some of the sampled material from loop labs, but then add their own performance tracks as part of a project.  Students could create an accompaniment on loop labs then record their own solos and have a complete and polished recorded project.  This is so cool.  Here is an example of added vocal tracks that have been overlaid onto the loop program. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Loop Labs

Most of my students are familiar with music creation programs like garage band where you can compose music using sampled sound clips.  I found this new all online site called LoopLabs that is a completely web based site that allows you to do the same thing as garage band without having to buy and install the program onto your computer.  The video takes you through some of the features of LoopLabs.  To read a short article on loop labs go here.

Prezi II

I have created a few prezi presentations for my students so that I could introduce some new concepts on bowing techniques that I thought would be helpful for them to be able to go back and review if they needed.  Here is my Prezi that I create to introduce the spiccato bow stroke with my students.  One of the nice things about the prezi is that not only can you access your prezi online, but you can also download it directly to your computer so that you don't need internet access to use your prezi.  There is also a special version for educational use which makes it affordable "free" to use.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I've used prezi for some classroom instruction on types of bow strokes.  I found the prezi rather easy to use and it was fun to create.  Although I'd like to have my students create their own prezis, I still wonder if the bells and whistles of the tool would get in the way of the content that they would have to put into a prezi.  The video above give a quick intro to the prezi.

Music Theory part II

I found this video that gives a basic overview of what is available on  I've made this a link on my orchestra webpage so that the students have access to it as an into to what is the site will offer.  I have found that more of my fellow teachers are using it as a resource more than my students at the moment.

Note Flight II

I've been playing with the note flight site and have found it to be pretty easy to use.  I asked some of my students to give it a try just as a comparison to the music creator program that they have already been using (garage band).  This site actually allows much more creativity for the students to truly compose music and see it in real time script.  You can try it here at this demo page.  It's lots of fun.  There is also a blog about note flight that has lots of info for my kids to read about.  Here is a video that explains a bit more about note flight.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Music Theory

Here is a site that I found on Music theory.  Here is the link for music .  Music theory for young musicians (as well as seasoned verterans) can be the bane of their existence.  Music theory is the complex building blocks for all of the music that we know and love.

There are lots of site that have basic theroy skills such as note recognition and key identification, however, this site offers everything from the very simple fundamentals to the most complex of advanced theory that would be offered in advanced music theory classes.

As I explore this site more, I hope to find that it will be a useful resource for my students.  There are many elements to this site and I see that it is very complete in terms of theory.  We shall see what it holds and I dig deeper into it.