At a recent faculty meeting the following question was posed: how to deal with students and their phones (meaning most technology- phones being the most prevalent and most prone to making random noise) in the classroom. My answer was immediate!
I MAKE THEM USE THEM.
I find the students already have their smart phones, iPads, and computers at the ready- to update their facebook status on a minute to minute basis, to text friends, and occasionally to take class notes. Why not include the resource to help them learn more effectively in the classroom and the practice room, too?
So here are a few of the apps I like- allowing for integration of technology in the classroom.
Pro Metronome: Beats with Sounds and Lights by Xiao Yixiang
For: iPhone and iPad
Gone are the days of playing tempo rubato because a student couldn’t afford a metronome to aid their practicing. Now any student with an iPhone can download this free app and play in rhythm. What I love about it- the ability to choose the sound, I enjoy the standard popping noise with emphasis on the down beat but there is the availability to use video game noises. It also allows the student to tap the beat and find the metronomic marking. Great for finding how close you are to the desired tempo, when working without a metronome.
If only there was an app available that offered the same great resource in a tuner. The apps out there that my friends and I have tested do not register the pedal tones on most instruments with a bass range. I am not sure if it is the mic in the phone/ipad or the app, but for now I am sticking with carrying a tuner separately.
forScore: by MGS Development
For: best with iPad or a Computer
After reading The New York Times article about Jeffrey Kahane conducting and performing from an iPad with the New York Philharmonic this fall, I decided I needed to get on board, not to mention my library of mini scores is costly to move, to remember to take to rehearsals, to class and to research. ForScore does not include scores but will allow you to download into the program, annotate the score, and follow along with a visual metronome.
Here are links to the two articles about the New York Philharmonic performance- for those who are interested in learning more.
BassoonReeds: by Ambroise Charron
For: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
This app offers bassoonists a chance to scrape for specific problems in a reed, i.e. too hard tounguing scrape across the tip and in the center (there is a diagram to show where). Just flip to the problem and scrape the portions notated in red on the reed diagram. Although it offers a problem and then a way to correct the problem, it does not look at existing problems on the reed to help diagnose. And it is not combined with basic micrometer dimensions of a good reed. But with a keen eye and a micrometer, this app can be a great asset.