Students and music instructors are turning to technology to improve music education.
SmartMusic 2010, a computer program, allows musicians to play along with digitalized accompaniment while tracking note and rhythm accuracy. To use the program, students play into a microphone adapter attached to their computers. The computer highlights wrong notes that were played and then links users to a fingering chart. Grade assessments are calculated after a student plays a piece.
The program aims to make practicing more engaging. Students can play rhythm and scale exercises or with a recorded piece to understand how their parts blend into the texture. The repertoire boasts more than 30,000 solo and full-ensemble songs. New songs are always added; the 2010 version offers 300 new titles. If a piece is not in SmartMusic’s library, you can write the music in Finale and add it.
At some schools, band directors are doling out music assignments to be completed with SmartMusic. Upon completing an assignment, students e-mail the file to the director, so he/she can listen to it. Teachers can then send comments back to students.
SmartMusic 2010, created by MakeMusic, costs $30 a year for students and $130 a year for music educators.