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.

Note Flight Music Notation

Here is a very interesting web based music notation software site.  noteflight is an online tool that allows you to create music notation in usable forms such as scores or individual parts.  There are several programs that exist to write music notation such as Finale and Sibelius but they are expensive and you have to install them on to a computer and get new versions as they are released.

This web based site allows you to do all of the notation elements that other programs do, however, you create and store everything online!  You can easily share your music and get music that others have created as well.  The basic program is FREE!  Of course they do offer a more enhanced version for a fee.

I think that students would get a great deal of use out of this site for composition purposes.  The students would also be able to enter and edit music of their own for performance purposes.  So far the site seems easy to use offers much in the way of composition tools.  I'm going to play with this a bit more and see how it works out as a usable tool for the music classroom.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Music Resources for Students

There are many online resources for music students to use on the web, some are great while others are less so.  Hopefully this blog can weed out the less interesting and useful sites from the ones that will be valuable tools for music students.