A Standards-Referenced Instrumental Music Program: Music Standards

On October 23, I began a blog post trying to collect my thoughts around our work in standards over the past four years. As I have organized (and reorganized) those thoughts, the post has evolved into plans for a presentation at the 2017 Iowa Bandmasters Association conference as well as a companion website of “how” we did our work in standards. This is the third in a series of posts detailing the “how.” The first two post detail our district’s process for curriculum review and looking at the Iowa Core Curriculum.

In 1994, the then Music Educators National Conference (MENC), adopted the following music content standards (numbers) and achievement standards (letters)

In 2014, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards published new National Core Arts Standards for dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. The NCCAS developed an excellent document detailing their work entitled A Conceptual Framework for Arts Learning. To summarize:

  • The Artistic Processes were identified from the 1997 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Arts assessment and definitions were expanded.
    • Creating: Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work.
    • Performing (dance, music, theatre): Realizing artistic ideas and work through interpretation and presentation.
    • Presenting (visual arts): Interpreting and sharing artistic work.
    • Producing (media arts): Realizing and presenting artistic ideas and work.
    • Responding: Understanding and evaluating how the arts convey meaning.
    • Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context.
  • Anchor Standards “describe the general knowledge and skill that teachers expect students to demonstrate throughout their education in the arts.”
  • Performance Standards “are discipline-specific (dance, media arts, music, visual arts, theatre), grade-by-grade articulations of student achievement in the arts PK-8 and at three proficiency levels in high school (proficient, accomplished and advanced). As such, the performance standards translate the anchor standards into specific, measurable learning goals.”
  • Instructional Resources “are provided to support teachers as they build understanding about the new standards and consider multiple ways to implement the standards in their classrooms.”
    • Enduring Understandings “are statements summarizing important ideas and core processes that are central to a discipline and have lasting value beyond the classroom.”
    • Essential Questions “are those that encourage, hint at, even demand transfer beyond the particular topic in which students first encounter them, and therefore, should recur over the years to promote conceptual connections and curriculum coherence.” (based on Wiggins & McTighe, Understanding by Design, ASCD, 2005)
    • Model Cornerstone Assessments as described by Jay McTighe in Understanding by Design:
      • are curriculum embedded (as opposed to externally imposed);
      • recur over the grades, becoming increasingly sophisticated over time;
      • establish authentic contexts for performance;
      • assess understanding and transfer via genuine performance;
      • integrate 21st century skills (e.g., critical thinking, technology use, teamwork) with subject area content;
      • evaluate performance with established rubrics;
      • engage students in meaningful learning while encouraging the best teaching;
      • provide content for a student’s portfolio (so that they graduate with a resume of demonstrated accomplishments rather than simply a transcript of courses taken).
    • Process Components “are the actions artists carry out as they complete each artistic process.”
      • Creating: Imagine; Plan and Make; Evaluate and Refine, and Present
      • Performing: Select; Analyze; Interpret; Rehearse, Evaluate, and Refine; and Present
      • Responding: Select; Analyze; Interpret; and Evaluate
    • Glossaries

I would highly recommend digging into the National Core Arts Standards website. It goes far more in depth than I can or will in this post. Below are a few infographics to help give a better idea of the standards.

The resource that we will focus on comes from their identified discipline of Traditional and Emerging Ensembles. There are also resources for PreK-8 General Music, Harmonizing Instruments, Composition and Theory, Music Technology, Dance, Media Arts, Theatre, and Visual Arts. Each resource takes each Artistic Process (Creating, Performing/Presenting/Producing, Responding, and Connecting) with their corresponding Anchor StandardsEnduring Understandings, and Essential Questions and aligns them to Process Components to generate Performance Standards at different proficiency levels. For example:

The words bolded in red are defined in the available glossaries.

The words bolded in red are defined in the available glossaries.

As we begin to delve into the National Core Arts Standards, I will update the blog with the work we do.

State Standards

States have developed their own standards for music education prior to, out of, or in reaction to the National Core Arts Standards. As part of the creation of the new standards, the NCCAS reviewed several states’ arts standards including Colorado (2009), Florida (2009), Michigan (2011), New Jersey (2009), New York City (2007), North Carolina (2005), Tennessee, and Washington. A simple Google search will turn up results from other states.

In our state of Iowa, the Department of Education has chosen to align the Fine Arts with the Iowa Core Universal Constructs. From their website for the Fine Arts:

The Fine Arts Alignment with the Iowa Core Universal Constructs documents were written to illustrate how fine arts teachers can align their instruction to the universal constructs from the Iowa Core. By showing connections between the universal constructs and fine arts, these documents demonstrate how fine arts support the implementation of the Iowa Core. Fine arts are particularly well-suited in supporting students in developing the universal constructs important for success in the 21st Century.

They provide companion documents for Drama and Theatre, General Music, Instrumental-Vocal Music, and Visual Arts. I took a deeper look in my previous post on the Iowa Core.

UPDATE: February 16, 2017. The Iowa Department of Education announced today a team to develop fine arts standards for schools. While I wish a member from our vertical team was able to contribute to this work, I am excited to see what comes from this Fine Arts Standards Adoption Team.

Next, we will look at what we developed as part of our previous curriculum review process in 2012-2013.

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A Standards-Referenced Instrumental Music Program: Iowa Core

On October 23, I began a blog post trying to collect my thoughts around our work in standards over the past four years. As I have organized (and reorganized) those thoughts, the post has evolved into plans for a presentation at the 2017 Iowa Bandmasters Association conference as well as a companion website of “how” we did our work in standards. This is the second in a series of posts detailing the “how.” The first post details our district’s process for curriculum review.

Literacy Standards

From our Curriculum Review Guidelines (September 2016), “each curriculum review begins with a study of the significance of content literacy to all content areas. The Iowa Core literacy standards are reviewed with each curriculum review team.”

All of the Iowa Core literacy standards are based off the Common Core English Language Arts Standards. Specifically, they identify College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language. These standards are made more specific for each grade level from K-5 and in strands for grades 6-8, 9-10, and 11-12. There are also specific Reading and Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects for grades 6-12. Because our PLC focuses on grades 6-12, I am going to focus this post there. Here are the CCR Anchor Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language:

There are also grade-specific standards:

The grades 6–12 standards on the following pages define what students should understand and be able to do by the end of each grade span. They correspond to the College and Career Readiness (CCR) anchor standards below by number. The CCR and grade-specific standards are necessary complements—the former providing broad standards, the latter providing additional specificity—that together define the skills and understandings that all students must demonstrate.

I am not sure where our district will take us in our review of the Iowa Core literacy standards. I do know that our team believes wholeheartedly that we want our students to be “musically literate,” and much or our work should revolving on students knowing, understanding, and being able to decode music. Our current standards (2012-2013 Review Summary), are very literacy based:

These standards are not aligned with the Iowa Core Literacy Standards, but this alignment would be easy to accomplish. For example, let’s take the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards and draw parallels in music:

  • READING
    • Key Ideas and Details: Identification of tonal center and meter.
    • Craft and Structure: Identification of form.
    • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: Combining reading of notes, rhythms, articulations, expression, etc.
    • Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity: Reading a wide variety of musical literature at varied grade levels.
  • WRITING
    • Text Types and Purposes: Performing music from different time periods and genres.
    • Production and Distribution of Writing: Understanding transposition, communicating musically with other instruments.
    • Research to build and Present Knowledge: Making informed style choices in performance.
    • Range of Writing: Performing (composing? improvising?) a wide variety of musical literature.
  • SPEAKING AND LISTENING
    • Comprehension and Collaboration: Balance, blend, vertical alignment.
    • Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: Performing together.
  • LANGUAGE
    • Conventions of Standard English: Characteristic tone production.
    • Knowledge of Language: Understanding of music vocabulary.
    • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: Correct application of music vocabulary.

All of these are my own personal conclusions working through the College and Career Readiness Standards. They should not be taken as conclusions drawn by our professional learning community or curriculum leadership team. I drew similar conclusions in my work at VanderCook when we looked at the Common Core State Standardsunpacked the CCSS and looked at implementing the English Language Arts CCSS in my classroom as part of a MECA class on Teaching Music in the Common Core World.

Fine Arts Alignment with Universal Constructs

From the Iowa Department of Education website for the Fine Arts:

The Fine Arts Alignment with the Iowa Core Universal Constructs documents were written to illustrate how fine arts teachers can align their instruction to the universal constructs from the Iowa Core. By showing connections between the universal constructs and fine arts, these documents demonstrate how fine arts support the implementation of the Iowa Core. Fine arts are particularly well-suited in supporting students in developing the universal constructs important for success in the 21st Century.

The Universal Constructs “were identified following an analysis of the competencies and habits of mind needed for future successes in careers, college and citizenry.” They include critical thinkingcomplex communicationcreativitycollaborationflexibility and adaptability, and productivity and accountability. In the companion documents, the team created some visual aids showing their thinking:

Finally, they pulled out skills from the Iowa Core that align to the Fine Arts and paired them with instructional strategies aligned to the Universal Constructs:

I heard this past weekend at the 2016 All-State Music Festival that money has been allocated for a team of educators to begin looking at writing Iowa music standards. I’ll update you as I hear more.

Next, we look at the different national and state standards available for music.

A Standards-Referenced Instrumental Music Program: Curriculum Review

On October 23, I began a blog post trying to collect my thoughts around our work in standards over the past four years. As I have organized (and reorganized) those thoughts, the post has evolved into plans for a presentation at the 2017 Iowa Bandmasters Association conference as well as a companion website of “how” we did our work in standards. This is the first in a series of posts detailing the “how.”

Every K-12 music teacher in Ankeny went through the curriculum review process in 2012-2013. As part of that process, they developed a Music Curriculum Review Summary upon which we based our work as a data-driven professional learning community. This year (2016-2017), we have been reviewing our decisions, ensuring we are adequately answering the four fundamental questions of a high-functioning PLC:

  1. What do we want students to learn/know/be able to do? (Standards)
  2. How will we know they have learned it? (Assessment)
  3. How will we respond when they have not learned it? (Remediation)
  4. How will we respond when they have learned it? (Extension)

Dr. Wendy Barden uses a similar infographic in her workshops on standards-based grading:

In our world, her levels of standards-based instruction and assessment blend together as we teach towards standards, formatively and summatively assess those standards, and respond to the data collected from those assessments.

Curriculum Review Process

The information included in this next section comes from our latest Curriculum Review Guidelines (September 2016), a Google Doc for which I do not have the rights to share. I have, however, been given permission to share content from that document. More information can be found on our district’s Teacher Leadership blog in a post on Curriculum Review.

Here is what our district provides for our Curriculum Writing Cycle:

Vocal and Instrumental Music are currently in Year 5 (2016-2017) of the process, having gone through curriculum review in the 2012-2013 school year. Based on how Science (Year 1) and Career & Technical Education (Year 2) are going through the process this year, I am imagining Vocal and Instrumental Music Teachers will be permitted to apply for the Curriculum Leadership Team. This team will consist of representation from “all buildings, all grade levels, and all courses,” “support areas” (instructional coaches, special education, gifted and talented, teacher librarians, and English as a Second Language teachers) as needed, and elementary and secondary administrators. Based on those descriptions, we’d see something like this:

I’d be curious how this would play out for all of our music teachers. All of us have a number of roles across different courses and several across different buildings.

Year 1: Grade Level Standards

The first thing that the CLT focuses on is building a background knowledge in content literacy using the Iowa Core literacy standards. The team then “generates a philosophy, or mission statement (emphasis mine), that addresses what an Ankeny Community Schools graduate should know and be able to do as a result of the learning the student gains from coursework in this content area.” This Mission Statement helps develop the Course Purpose that “outlines the focus areas for each grade and course. The Mission Statement and Course Purpose guide the Grade Level Standards. At the secondary level, the Course Purpose is turned into a course description. These quotes and paraphrases come from our Curriculum Review Guidelines.

Next, using national and/or state standards, the Curriculum Leadership Team begins unpacking the standards. The purpose of unpacking the standards is to clearly determine and articulate what we wants students to Know, Understand, and be able to Do. This process aligns with the first question high-functioning Professional Learning Communities tackle, “What do we want students to know and be able to do?”

Curriculum Review Guidelines, September 2016

I imagine that in this stage of the process, we would look at the National Core Arts Standards as well as the Iowa Core Curriculum’s Instrumental-Vocal Music Companion. I’m curious how we will work with their General Music Companion. From our previous curriculum review, we identified the following standards for 6-12 Vocal/Instrumental Music:

“Due to the large number of Iowa Core standards, it becomes necessary to organize the content/skills into a manageable document for teachers.” (Curriculum Review Guidelines, September 2016). We are asked to prioritize standards into three separate areas: focus areasfoundational areas, and introductory areas.

According to the Teacher Leadership post about Curriculum Review:

Focus Areas are the content/skills ALL students WILL know and demonstrate by the time they exit their grade or course… (70% of instructional time)

 

Foundational Areas establish a solid understanding for the next grade or course… (20% of instructional time)

 

Introductory Areas provde just that – an introduction or overview of content/skills… (10% of instructional time)

“To communicate ongoing student progress towards mastery of the required standards, Grade Level Standard Rubrics will be created.” (Curriculum Review Guidelines, September 2016). After the 2012-2013 curriculum review, we developed and refined the following wind and percussion rubrics:

Similarly, teachers will develop common formative assessments during Year 2.

Next, “Learning Targets are created from the Grade Level Standards and Components. Daily Learning Targets are simple, student-friendly statements describing what a student will know and demonstrate as a result of instruction that day.”

Then, the CLT develops curriculum maps. “Guided by the work of Hayes-Jacobs (1997) and Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins (UbD – 1998), curriculum review team members generate unit (themed or by content/skill) expectations to be taught and assessed.”

Finally, the CLT creates a professional development plan “to support the full implementation of the curriculum in the content area.”

Years 2 and 3: Resource Selection and Development of Common Assessments

“The next task of the CLT is to identify, analyze, and select curriculum resources that will best support the delivery of the new curriculum.” As part of the 2012-2013 curriculum review, our team identified the following resources:

  • Grades 6-7: Student Instrumental Course: Level 1, Alfred Music
  • Grades 8-9: Student Instrumental Course: Level 2, Alfred Music
  • Grades 10-12: Rubank Advanced Method: Volume 1, Hal Leonard

“CLT members collaborate to create content-area common assessments for each grade level and/or course… Authentic, valid, and reliable common summative assessments are created by the CLT representatives.  Rubrics for the assessments are created at this time.  In addition, common formative assessments used as evidence of learning are created – along with rubrics or supporting documents required for implementation.”

Years 4 and 5: Implement and Monitor

We have tried a number of different ways of implementing our designed curriculum, many of which I have detailed in other posts or on our data-driven website:

  • Vertical Teaching: Our 6-12 team of five teaches lessons and ensemble rehearsals across three buildings every day.
  • Standards-Based Practices: Our district asks us to implement standards-based (now standards-referenced, more on that in a future post) practices in our teaching.
  • Takadimi and Solfege: We use takadimi and solfege to teach rhythmic and tonal literacy, respectively.
  • Collecting Data: This has looked different nearly every year we have implemented it! Check out Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, and Year 4. We have also begun recording assessments this year.
  • SmartMusic: We currently have our feet in both worlds of the Classic SmartMusic and the new SmartMusic Web.
  • Infinite Campus: Our district uses Infinite Campus as a reporting tool. We have been adapting it to work with our standards-based practices.
  • Solo Project: All of our 6-12 students prepare and perform a solo as part of our curriculum.
  • Ensemble Project: All of our 9-12 students also prepare and perform a small ensemble as part of our curriculum.
  • Jazz Band Standards: We spent time developing standards for our extra-curricular jazz ensembles.

 

The New SmartMusic Web

This year, we have been using the new web-based version of SmartMusic with our 10-12th grade students. We were awarded a grant for our 5 teachers and 116 teachers to have SmartMusic Teach subscriptions. Dr. Christopher Russell has a description of the different platforms, but here is a brief summary:

  • TEACH Free: Allows teachers to try out the new SmartMusic Web prior to purchasing. Library is limited to SmartMusic’s free catalog (Free Selections 1 & Free Selections 2).
  • TEACH: 3 teachers can assign repertoire from the full library to 50 students for $399. Students can only access materials that are assigned to them. Each additional teacher is $40. A block of 5 additional students is also $40.
  • PLAY: Upgrade individual student accounts to access the full library. $20/account.

I should preface this post with the statement that the web-based version of SmartMusic is not yet a finished product. They are continuing to add and refine features, to take feature requests, and to provide quality support for the new product.

Administering the Platform

As the Administrator on our account, I invited our 5 teachers to the platform.

Students add themselves to the platform by inputting a Class Code generated when a teacher creates a class.

I’ve hidden the classroom codes, but you can also see that I have been unable to delete a duplicate class I have created so far.

The Home Screen

The banner image for this post (also below) is the Home screen for me as the teacher.

I currently don’t have any Assignments To Be Graded because none have been submitted to me. The assignments I currently have out are for them to explore the platform. You can see that here my classes appear correctly in Class & Student Management. Hovering over a class gives me two options: Admin and Grading Info. More about those below. My Assignment Templates are assignments I have already created. Students are exploring the platform using Franco Cesarini’s Greek Folk Song Suite, a piece we are playing later this year. My Recently Uploaded Content is our Fall 2016 marching band show, which I uploaded via MusicXML, more on that below. The Open Or Assign Content search dialog and the Browse By Category buttons function similar to the original SmartMusic application (SmartMusic Classic).

Searching or Browsing for Content

As a teacher, searching for new content displays results on the following screen:

I am able to Filter Results after searching. Clicking Open prompts me to choose a Movement (even if it is not a multi-movement work) and an Instrument. Clicking Assign only prompts me to choose a movement. More on assigning below.

As of right now, it appears our students are able to search and open content in the library that we have NOT assigned to them. This appears to be contrary to how SmartMusic is advertising the platform.

I should also caution you that the entire library that is available in the Classic SmartMusic is not yet fully converted to the new SmartMusic Web. For example, we use the Rubank Advanced Method Volume 1 with our 10-12th Grade Students. Most of our assessment material comes from the Studies in Melodic Interpretation section. As you can see, not all of the instruments are available for all of the different studies. What you see in the screenshot is what is currently available. The list of available studies and instruments has been growing as we have continued to use the platform.

Viewing Content

Below is a screenshot of the interface looks like when opening content or an assignment.

It appears there may be a few bugs to work out in how the rendering engine deals with subtitles, but I can assure you the interface is much easier to use than Classic SmartMusic. Across the top there are separate tabs that will change the toolbar just below it. We are currently in the Tracks tab which allows to:

  • Set Loops of measures to be repeated by clicking and dragging over measures
  • Control the volume of the Accompaniment. In our imported MusicXML files, we are currently unable to hear the accompaniment.
  • Control the volume of My Part. In the screenshot, it is muted. Clicking the Speaker X icon will unmute it.
  • Control the volume of the Metronome.

The library of sounds included in the new SmartMusic Web is based of the Garritan Instrument Library as opposed to the SmartMusic SoftSynth or MIDI used in the ClassicSmartMusic. It is much better to listen to!

The My Takes tab allows you to browse through takes you have already recorded. You can Delete or Save these takes. Save downloads your take as a WAV file. Currently, if students log out, the takes do not remain stored in SmartMusic. There is also not currently a way to upload saved takes back into the program.

The Display tab provides features for Highlight Current Measure, having the Cursor click across each Beat or Flowing across the measure in tempo. You can also turn the Cursor: Off. The Zoom feature allows you to adjust the size of the displayed content. When the engraved page reaches the size of the screen, you can continue zooming in. SmartMusic then adjusts the sizes of the staves, noteheads, etc. to continue zooming:

The Assessment tab looks like this:

Show Assessment turns the red and green note heads off. Percussion Mode tells SmartMusic to assess percussion instruments specifically. Sub Part allows you to choose which part is being assessed (ex: the bottom line of a duet vs. the top line). See Instructions displays the instructions for an assignment. These instructions automatically appear when students open instructions. Calibrate Mic does exactly that only much quicker:

This interface for calibrating is MUCH quicker than Classic SmartMusic. It also occurs automatically when beginning a new recording.

The Mvmt./Instr. tab allows you to select which Movement or Instrument you would like displayed. If students move outside of their assigned movement or instrument, they will not be allowed to submit their assignment.

The Annotation feature is not yet available, but students and teachers will be able to “write” on the music. This could be to give feedback or accidental/fingering reminders.

Speaking of fingerings, clicking on a note will show students fingerings AND can play the pitch using the Garritan sound.

Assigning Content

When creating a new assignment, you are first prompted to Name it. The types available are any that SmartMusic has already created or a Custom AssignmentGeneral Instructions appear when students open the assignment.

The next screen allows you to select the Criteria you will use to evaluate the assignment. I’ve input the different criteria from our Wind Rubric as a test. I can then allocate Points Possible for each Criteria. I can also Create New Criterion:

Here I put all of the Level Descriptions and Level Titles from our Wind Rubric. I can also change the color of the Criterion.

The next screen allows you to provide specific instructions for each instrument. Each instrument is allowed to have its own independent StartEnd, and Tempo. You can also ask students to Sight Read, setting a timer to countdown before it begins recording. You can also provide instrument-specific Instructions For Your Students. Clicking Save Part moves on to the next part in the list. Skip Part is pretty self-explanatory. Copy allows you to copy the settings from one part to multiple parts. When all the parts have been either saved or skipped, you can Save This Parts Setup. This creates a Template for you to Assign. You can choose to Assign Now or Later.

The next screen allows me to set dates for the assignment. The period it is referencing is the Grading Period I setup for the class when creating it.

Then we can assign parts to students. I’ve blanked out my students’ names and profile pictures. You can see that some of them were a bit creative when choosing their instruments. If I click Automatically Assign and their chosen Instruments do not align with available parts, then nothing will be automatically assigned to them. I can, however, select multiple boxes below All | None to assign a singular part to many students. When every student has a part assigned, I can click Finish and it assigns the part.

Grading Assignments

As our first assignment is due this weekend, we have not yet had the opportunity to work through the grading part of the new platform. We will update this post as we go through the process.

Importing MusicXML Content

SmartMusic has provided a tutorial on how to import content. We did this to import our Fall 2016 marching show. I won’t walk you through the tutorial, but I will share a few screenshots and descriptions of the process.

The new SmartMusic Web views imported content as a “book,” which can be immensely helpful in collecting a wide variety of material for a single assignment. We were able to incorporate all three movements of our show into a single “book” of uploaded content.

However, each individual part needs its own MusicXML file. In Finale 25, they have built-in this feature to the Export function. They have also provided a free Dolet plugin for previous versions of Finale. If you use another application for composing, you’ll need to export MusicXML files for each individual part. SmartMusic Web cannot pull the information from the XML of a score.

Conclusion

We are not completely thrilled with the new platform. We are lucky that we were awarded a grant that allows us to fund the new SmartMusic Web while we can continue to use our own budget to fund SmartMusic Classic as we have in previous school years. Here is a list of what we do not like:

  • Full Library not available in SmartMusic Web. This is in the process of being addressed, but it isn’t happening quickly enough for our liking.
  • Accompaniment sounds not available for uploaded content. It is great that we can upload MusicXML files instead of SMP and SMPX files that could only be created in Finale. That being said, these uploaded files are not as fully functional as imported SMPX files are in SmartMusic Classic.
  • Administrator is unable to see other Teachers As the Administrator for our account, I can invite other teachers to the platform, but I cannot access their classes. For example, Scott teaches different concert and jazz ensembles than I do. If he is having issues, it would be nice for me to access his account. The only thing I can see is the fact that he has a class called Wind Symphony with a specific access code. We would also like multiple teachers to have access to the same class.
  • Students can’t save takes from session to session. If a student records several takes on one day, those takes will not still be available on another day if they have logged out at any point in between. Even if they haven’t logged out, we have found that SmartMusic Web does not always keep the takes saved (they are stored in the browser cache). While students can save their takes as a WAV file, they cannot upload them back into the platform after doing so.
  • Inconsistent experience when leaving tabs open. Many of our students leave their SmartMusic Web tab open on their Chromebooks as a reminder to complete the assignment, continue practicing, etc. The longer they leave these tabs open, the more inconsistent the platform appears to run. Simply closing the tab and re-opening it usually solves the problem. Students also need to make sure they are running the most up-to-date version of Chrome. This is more difficult to manage on a Chromebook than a Chrome browser on a computer.
  • Assignments don’t get assigned to new students. If a student joins the SmartMusic class after you have assigned an Assignment, you have to go back in and re-assign to this student.

All that being said, we are excited for the potential this platform provides. For the cost of $8 per student, we are able to provide them with a tool that lets them practice their instrument with immediate pitch and rhythm feedback. The interface is much more refined than SmartMusic Classic. It is quicker to use and far more intuitive. The technicians are very quick to answer questions and solve problems.

The New SmartMusic is also available for iPad. Unfortunately, my 4th generation iPad does not meet the minimum system requirements to test this out for you.

Let us know what you want to know! We look forward to continuing to update you with our use of it!