Topic for Discussion: If you were new to using technology in the music classroom, what would be the first things you would want to know to get started? What might be the first items you'd recommend for someone to get and use in this position? And, what resources would you recommend for them to grow in understanding of technology in the music classroom? There are several books out there but most of them are not easily assessible or understandable for the amateur music techie and as such I'd like to find ways to reach out to those people and bring more people "to the dark side." Any suggestions?

Tags: education, music, technology

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For me, the best way to get started w/ Music & Tech is interactive Flash-based websites. I'm fortunate enough to have a Smart Board in my room, but even if you don't students can do a lot themselves at a computer using these kind of sites. Besides great sites like the San Francisco Symphony Kids Page: & the New York Philharmonic Kidzone: which are sites that allow students to explore the world of classical music, instruments, etc., there are other sites that are set up to allow students to create their own music - "Drumsteps" from the BBC: is the most amazing one I've found. These sites enable even KINDERGARTNERS to create their own music.

Here's the link to my "Lotsa Links" page on my site, check out the "Interactive Sites". Make sure your Flash & Showckwave plug-ins are up to date, & some sites only work well on certain browsers - fr ex., I can only get "Drumsteps" to work on IntExp.

Hope this helps.
This is an excellent site! I am a music education major at UNK. I will soon be going out in to the classrooms with my student teaching, so I really appreciate all of your help!
I am well-versed in using technology in the elementary music classroom. I think it is terribly important to note that the use of technology in elementary school is waaay different than in the middle and high schools. Due to the severe lack of time and usually the resources, the kids don't have much opportunity to do music tech. That leaves music tech in elemusic basically, mostly and unfortunately for teacher use only. So this response starts from that premise.

Many elemusic teachers on the lists that I am on start out with this question: how can I show a PowerPoint on my TV?
The second question is usually how do I get music into my PowerPoint?

Do you see a trend here with the PowerPoint angle??
PowerPoint (or Impress or Keynote) has(have) tremendous use and possibilities in the classroom, faaaaar beyond projecting lyrics. I'm doing sessions on that this year at a national and state conference, as a matter of fact.

Secondly, since the music teacher is frequently considered not worthy of spending real money on (oh,soo true but sad ) in the realm of technology, s/he has to think "free". So open source software is extremely compelling.
Questions about Finale Notepad and Audacity are frequent.

With the rise of YouTube and the like, the teachers are all asking 'how can I show YT in my classroom' given that it is almost certainly blocked in the classroom. The question becomes how to download and convert the files. Other forums have noted; add However, large files can't be converted. Then what?!?

The next topic is usually about iPods and iTunes. Teachers find mp3 players more convenient to use than CDs.
I personally find that mp3 players are a pain and so I rip and embed my sound files into my PPT.

Too many teachers fail to get into the techy side of life until they get an IWB, but there is so much that can be done without one. PPT can be as useful in many way as an IWB, but many teachers haven't even tried it enough to know.

The last thought I offer is proper attention to copyright. Once we start copying music, graphics, lyrics, photos, arrangements, etc., we are heading into a world of hurt legally. Teachers just starting out in the techy world in music education should check out the MENC pages that deal with copyright.

I really would hate to go back to writing lyrics on posters and having to run to the CD player after the song is over, and showing little bitty pictures out of books.......... ugh.
I have used the SmartBoards an awful lot with my music teachers. It's very easy to scan music and open a file on the SmartBoard and show the whole class the song or particular phrase or measure that everyone is having difficulty with. It's also nice to use with music warm-ups where students have to identify notes or rhythms. There are some interactive lessons available that may help younger students. We have also on occasion used Finale Notepad, which used to be free and costs about $10 now. That really helped kids understand the notes and even about composing. The teachers of course get the full Finale version which is about $300, if I remember right.
I have found the new SmartMusic software to be a godsend in my band class/rehearsals. I began using it as a supplemental tool last year to help students along with practicing and it has really begun to explode for me. Students were much farther along at the end of the year than they had every been before, the only thing I did different was use SmartMusic to send and receive assignments. The students (for the most part) were excited to practice much more than they had in the past and some of the more students with difficulty in class were able to use it as a tool at home that truly helped. It is like having a band director at home with you while you practice. The fact that it assesses and records as you play would make it worthwhile by itself.

I have also taken comment tapes from adjudicated events and competitions and posted them on a blog or our band website for the students to listen to our performance. This way I can give "homework" to the students to listen to the tapes that way I do not have to take two days of classtime to review judges comments. Students can listen to them over the course of the week and then we are able to discuss them in class and work to better understanding of the concepts the judges are getting at as well as do some in depth writing assignments.

Some things can be simple though. I take an audio recorder and will record my jazz band rhythm section through chord changes so that a soloist can better practice their improv at home rather than always have to wait for that small chunk of time we have "one day a week" to get at it.
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Personally, i would want to know some of the different programs that are offered for the music classroom. Also i would want to know some of the leading ways to use the software. I'm a music major at UNK and i really appreciate your thoughts on the matter!

I've used the following software with my 10 year old students:

In my opinion, Audacity is essential to have in a music classroom. It is a free audio editing software. Lots of ways to use this, i.e.experiment with students mixing tracks of themselves playing different parts of a duet, take backing tracks created with Acid XPress and play "live" instruments over it. My students found this software easy to work with.

Acid Xpress 7 is a free download. It's similar to GarageBand and allows one to manipulate music loops to create something original. My students have found it very easy and intuitive to use. Instant positive feedback for the kids.

Finale and Sibelius are fantastic if you have access to it, but they are very pricey. For a free alternative, you might look into It's a web-based notation application with sharing capabilities.

Band-in-a-Box is handy for creating play-along files for students to play their recorder with. Find it at It's licensed in my province.
I had a couple of kids bring in their ipod Touch and iphones (mostly borrowed from their parents) for an ocarina an leaf trombone concert once. They loved it!
Cool! I actually worked on both of those apps for Smule. I also a former 4th grade teacher. You don't know how happy I am to hear about this! Any chance you have a video you can share?
WOW! I'm a huge SMULE fan...



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