MODERN MUSIC LEARNING
PlayTunes hears you play and tells you how to fix mistakes! Helper videos popup and suggest a different way to play.
COMPREHENSIVE DAILY EXERCISES
We know what it takes to succeed - every practice session comes with an animated long-tone warm-up, rhythm work (both playing and clapping), lip slurs for brass, scales, and tons of great exercises to build your skills!
FUN AND ACCESSIBLE
You can start on the first day you get your instrument, or even up to your third year.
We want to help kids practice better. So we set out on a 4 year journey to design a new kind of educational framework: one which was specifically designed for home practice. Each moment of practice for 150 sessions has been laid out; emerging learners are guided through long tones, lip slurs, rhythm exercises. At the end of 30 levels, we're taking kids through 3,000 exercises.
Shawn, the founder and 20-year band/orchestra/jazz director in elementary, middle, and high school, got lucky when he found Scott. Scott is an expert developer with 30 years experience, many of them working in audio recognition and processing. Scott reacted well to the key question: can we give students helpful video feedback after performance?
We first had to figure out how to measure the severity of the problems: is a rhythmic problem worse than a pitch issue? We decided that for rhythm-centered exercises we would give feedback in that area. We had to decide how many problems to bring up to students: we decided that one per exercise would give the kids the chance to isolate their thinking and give them a chance to focus.
Sidney, our award-winning UI designer and artist, came aboard to give the app the look and feel to forge connection and playfulness. With a number of apps to her name, she's an expert in design thinking.
TECHNOLOGY IN THE
In our middle school band program, we use the following tools during rehearsals:
Smartboard/Apple TV - we screenshare from our laptops a google slide agenda for each day. Students enter, they know what music to download, etc.
Yes, I said "download." Our kids use iPads. They import PDFs of music from our Schoology class and they share with a partner (except those who are singletons or require more space).
They export the pdf to an app called PiaScore, where they can annotate and edit using different colors for different elements like dynamics or style.
For warm-ups, we use SightReadingFactory. This is a fantastic resource which utilizes chorales and straight rhythms. It's very versatile and user-friendly. You can adjust and save settings for each ensemble like key and time signatures, difficulty level, etc. At the time of this writing, it's an annual subscription of $35.
We also use Tonal Energy Tuner and we play a tuning game. This is a blast, the kids love it: The app has a green circle that transforms into a smiley face if the students hold a pitch in tune for long enough. We "tune" one section per day. When the kids make the smiley face, we have a cartoon on the board, like an avatar, that adds details for each time they succeed. It's great - they clap for each others' improving intonation! ($3.99)
We also tune to a Cello Drone sound on Spotify. We have kids tune to a Bb for brass, an A for woodwinds, and an E for Tenor Sax.
We use metronomes quite frequently during rehearsal. There's a free metronome if you just type it into Google!