Independent Teacher Forum
APPS for TEACHERS
Scales and Modes $1.99 -reference and quiz app/sight and sound/ all diatonic scales and modes with fingering/jazz minor scales
Music Theory Toolbox $.99-reference app/key signatures, chords, scales/transposition--converts notes from any stand transposing instrument
forScore-$4.99--music read/can download virtually any PDF file directly from the web/file and store thousands of pages of score/auto turn (I would suggest purchasing the foot pedal "air turn" as it is easier and more accurate/edit and share via email, Bluetooth, or print scores airPrint.
Nota--$2.99 note quiz--not worth the money
Metronome Plus-$1.99 excellent metronome/simple and easy to use/sight and sound
Note Squish $.99 fun note naming game/helps develop ability to quickly name notes
Treble Clef Kids-$1.99 Treble Clef note and Key naming/sight and sound
Treble Clef Kids 2-$1.99 Bass Clef note and key naming
Treble Clef Kids 3 $1.99 Intervals/identify intervals by sight and sound
Treble Clef Kids 4 $3.99 Keys and Scales/recognize key signatures, major and minor scales
Treble Clef Kids 5 $3.99 Triads/recognize all major and minor triads in root, 1st, and 2nd inversions
Piano Notes -$.99 note naming/two octaves
Notes--Learn to Read Music -$.99-note naming (I suggest to use the third section as it omits the keyboard.)/Solfieg option
Quick Flash Notes-Free-note naming flash card style with four possible letter choices/mixes treble and bass clef notes/ledger lines also in mix/excellent for intermediate students
Musicnotes-Free sheet music viewer/connects with musicnotes.com account/Internet based sheet music store with 110, 000 pieces available
Music Cubes--Free/ear training Simon Says style/listen and repeat the sequence of notes back
Music Intervals--Free/recognize animated intervals in the staff
Mailchimp--Free/connect with students and parents
Theory Activities for You and Your Student
For younger students:
Play a version of the electronic game "Simon Says!" Start by playing two notes and then ask your student to play them back exactly as you played them (ie.staccato, legato, forte, piano.) If they play them back correctly, add another note. If they play that sequence back correctly, add yet another note. Continue for as long as they can play the sequence back correctly. You can do this activity with the student looking away or watching as you play each note. You can also turn this activity around by asking the student to first play the notes and then you correctly play them back to the student.
For older students: Play a two measure melody and ask the student to play it back exactly as you played it. Make sure they pay close attention to phrasing, tempo and dynamics. If they play it back correctly, add another measure. Continue for as long as they can play each measure back correctly. You can also do this activity with the student looking away or watching as you play. As with the younger students, you can turn this activity around by asking the student to play the melody and then you play it back to the student. It can be a melody they have heard, or one they create themselves.
Chris Goldston, a guest lecturer at our 2009 UMTA Conference has been named MTNA National Composition Coordinator. As such, he has distributed the following information that will be helpful to all teachers:
At the 2004 MTNA National Conference in Kansas City, I gave a session on getting students to compose. I continue to present workshop sessions on student composition for local and state MTA groups. Since the deadline for the MTNA competition is in September, start thinking about composition now, and get your students to compose over the summer! Here are some tips on helping your students compose:
To get a student started, consider giving them a starting measure of accompaniment that they can use or alter to start their own piece. This is especially fun to do with groups of students, as all of the pieces will be different, even if the starting idea is the same. You can also do this to reinforce accompaniment styles (waltz bass, alberti bass, etc.) that your students are learning in their performance pieces. Theme and Variation (or chaconne, passacaglia, or ground bass) is also an easy form to work with for first compositions.
Some teachers ask me how they can guide students in composition when they themselves don't even compose. All of us are trained musicians, and we know what we like about a piece. Think about how you choose pieces to learn yourself. I tell my students who compose that they need to learn the rules before they can break them.
Problem: Does the composition have good form and good phrase length?
Fix: Try ABA form for first compositions and stick to four-bar phrases in the early stages.
Problem: Are there too many ideas in the composition?
Fix: Help your student decide which motives work best together and develop them. Then you can save the other themes to start a new piece. Short, memorable melodies help make a composition successful.
Problem: Is there enough variety in the composition?
Fix: Try changing the harmonies, changing the accompaniment pattern, embellishing the melody or changing the register.
Lastly, I think it is great for teachers to model for their students. We do it to demonstrate producing tone or teaching rubato. Why not improvise a little with the student's ideas to spark new ideas for them? A little improvisation goes a long way to get the creative juices flowing. And don't worry, your students will not be able to reproduce a short teacher improvisation, but it will help them develop their pieces.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about teaching composition.
Chris Goldston (firstname.lastname@example.org)