This tech stuff can be intimidating, I know. I wrote an blog post earlier this month called “6 Ideas for Teaching Music Online,” presenting you with some easy ways to engage with your learners in an online environment. This post will give you 5 more ways to engage with your learners to help you teach online. These software pieces don’t necessarily give you real-time access to your kids but they do give you ideas for your kids to interact with music at home, asynchronously.
This collection of completely online apps help learners create music easily and with little guidance. There are very many cross-curricular connections here too. A number of the compositions can be turned into a link and sent to whomever they would like to. In this case, it could be you (the teacher) so you can see what they are doing. My favourites of these apps are:
There are a few useful features about the Song Maker app that I would like to point out: 1) The beat is subdivided into 8th notes by default so making really simple compositions is easy which also means you can transfer it to traditional notation quite easily; 2) the pitches are notated in the chromatic colour system like boomwhackers are. This means that C is always red; D is always orange and so on; 3) it is divided into a 4-measure phrase. The parameters are already laid out for you. These can all be changed in the ‘Settings’ tab. The compositions could be sent to anybody (you as well) by selecting ‘Save.’
This app has some clever features to it as well. There are four metres to choose from: ¾, 4/4, 5/4, and 6/4 and each has a different flavour so-to-speak. The second one (in 4/4) has a distinct drum set or rock and popular feel to it while the fourth one (in 6/4) has a very latinesque flavour to it. The beats are also subdivided into eighth notes.
There are a ton more interactive apps to get your kids interacting with music. Check it out here.
This is an online music DJ/hip-hop/beatboxing composition app found at incredibox.com. It is very intuitive and can make anyone sound like they know what they are doing very quickly. With the right combination of voices, a user can unlock specific mixes or composition material to add to their works. You can also record, save, and share on social media, therefore, they can be sent to you to see how they did.
Can’t find that perfect instructional video? Make your own in just a few minutes and send out the link. It’s a Chrome extension that lets you record your screen but also has your face in a video at the bottom of the screen so your kids can see you showing them how to use a particular app.
A really great site for figuring out how to play a plethora of songs. It presents chord charts and tabs for guitar, bass, ukulele, and even some drums and piano ones too. What is fantastic about this free online resource is that it includes an autoscroll feature, a transpose function, a simplify function, a hover-over chord diagram function, and many other extremely handy features to make learning guitar or uke incredibly easy. Chords can occasionally be wrong but I always see it as a learning opportunity to have them listen for the proper chord. Great for learning a song independently.
5. YouTube Play-alongs
Many who have taught classroom uke or guitar know that there are seemingly endless play-alongs for ukulele on guitar on YouTube. Some are better than others but can make learning those instruments really easy from home. And with YouTube’s ‘Change Speed’ feature, the learner can slow it down to learn the song at their own pace. It teaches kids how to engage in independent learning and helps to develop their critical thinking skills.
I hope these help add to your online teaching arsenal. Of course, online doesn’t necessarily mean you are always meeting with them in a video conference. Assigning work to be done asynchronously is great too.
Have you ever used any of these apps? What have been your experiences with them? Do you have any to add?
Until next time, Happy Musicking!