Pricing: Yearly Subscription: Teacher - $140, Student - $40, Practice room - $44
SmartMusic is a web based program that you download on you device. The program itself is permanently on your computer, but the music and exercises are pulled off of the SmartMusic servers as needed. Students can use this as a practice tools for ensemble music as well as chop and skill building exercises. Oh yea, and the main function of the program is to provide real time feedback on a students performance. The program analyzes the students playing and replaces the black notes on the screen with green or red to signify correctness.
- Students play with the program to measure accuracy and success
- Students can submit recordings to their directors for further assessment
- Wide range of exercises and literature to choose from with more frequently added
- Ability to custom make exercises through Finale
- Inbox/grade book feature for educators to grade assignments and export information
- Subscription last a whole year rather than just the school year
My experience with the program has been widely positive. It can be "a lot" more to grade and it does take some time, and a good internet connection, but in terms of being able to connect with students on a more one to one basis it is great. As a high school teacher we don't always get to give kids pull out lessons, but this program allows for tailor made assignments per students to help aid in their individual growth. The library that is available online is fairly expansive, but it all depends on the publisher/composer. not all titles, including some wind band staples are in the library. The jazz library is probably the smallest though they try and make up for it with a lot of improv exercises. Through both of the libraries shortfalls, they do constantly update the library to add more titles. In terms of the usage it can take sometime to manipulate well, especially the assignment creation side. While they have some pre made assignments for all of their pieces. When it gets to customizing certain sections, it can take a few times to get it right. From a students standpoint get ready for some backlash until they really get used to it. This is all depending on your situation. I found that the students that bought their own subscription to have at home they enjoyed the program more than those who could only use the program at school. Frequency on the program lets the students engage more...duh...They also don't like it because it is too "strict" (meaning that it is not flexible and actually tells them flat out whether they are right or wrong).
- Great teaching aid to individually engage students
- One-on-one communication abilities with the students to provide further feedback
- Accurate recording and grading of said recordings with a few errors
- Real time feedback on music performed
- Practice records and reports available
- Ability to see how long students spent on submitted assignments
- Limited libraries for solos and jazz ensembles
- Cost when it comes to outfitting a whole ensemble
- Internet based so it all depends on you internet speeds (still useable, can be sluggish)
- Classroom use limited
- Excess noise can be picked up an interfere with the students' assessment
Final Thoughts & Verdict:
Even though my students are not big fans of the program. I have to say that overall I am. Even though there are some user tricks you have to get used to as well as getting the students used to properly using the program. Overall I would have to say that this is a great tool. Especially being able to use the data from the grade book to show student growth (yay buzzwords!). My only warning would be to make sure that you know how you are going to roll out this program with your groups and that you have an infrastructure to support it. The more you know about what you want to do with the program the better. Because, after all knowing is half the battle. Use it.