Studying Music Provides a Wonderful Opportunity to Engage Students in Critical ThinkingStudying Music Provides a Wonderful Opportunity to Engage Students in Critical Thinking
As spring breaks around the country, festivals begin, and award musical award shows air, our students are going to experience all types of music! From classical instruments to hip-hop beats and rock-and-roll songs, music is part of our and our students’ lives. With that in mind, we wanted to explore the topic of “Music” in this Round Up because it is such a powerful element of our society. Though it may not be at the forefront of something we are experiencing, music is likely in the background as we shop, when we are at the gym, watch a show, or have a meal.
Because of its presence and its effect on us, studying music – not just playing music but analyzing its lyrics, legacy, artists and more – provides a wonderful opportunity to engage students in critical thinking. In this edition of the Round Up, we are going to share some of our favorite pieces of edtech that can be used for those purposes.
If you want to learn more about the edtech we share in this Round Up or in general, please visit us at App Ed Review. As a reminder, each review we post includes an original description of the edtech, 3-5 methods for using it, a comprehensive evaluation, and screenshots of the edtech in action! Now, onto the resources!
Though its name is not the most engaging, Music Timeline’s content is! This piece of edtech is an interactive timeline that shows the rise and fall of different musical genres from the 1950s to current. Students can click directly into a part of the timeline, and it will divide that section into the different genres and subgenres that were popular at that point in history. What makes this piece of edtech even more engaging is that it shows the the albums that were released during that time period, and the albums are directly linked to Google Play. Students can click one of the links and they can listen to short clips of an album for free on Google Play. The value in this piece of edtech is that students can use it when researching a musician or genre, and the presentation of the content shows how one genre blends into other genres. With high scores in the navigation, information presentation, and ease of use, Music Timeline is sure to be valuable resource in your classroom.
Begin Band is a website dedicated to providing information about joining a school band. Because students may have questions about the different instruments or what it is like to be in a band, this website offers them information that may answer several of their questions. Plus, the website’s “Articles and Information” section includes a variety of texts teachers can have students read and discuss related to timely topics in the band world. Lastly, the website provides detailed information about the different instruments used in band. Teachers can leverage these lists to have students rank their favorite instruments and write a short justification based on the information provided in this website to support their ranking. Begin Band earned a high score for the level of its material, and middle and high school teachers will be able to use this resource in creative ways.
Virtual Piano is a website that lets students play the piano using their keyboard. Given that a variety of similar websites exist, this one is particularly useful because of its easy-to-use functionality coupled with the resources it offers. First, students can click the “Play” button on the top menu to access the keyboard. No downloads, plug-ins, or fancy software is required. The piano just loads and works, and students play with their keyboard. Next, students can access a variety of previously recorded music and/or submit their own music through the “Music Sheet” portal located at the top menu. By accessing content in this way, it provides a simple way for students to get their hands on music and attempt playing it. In all, Virtual Piano will likely be a hit in your classroom based on the control it offers students and its interactivity.
The San Francisco Symphony’s Website for Kids is designed to introduce younger students into the world of classical music. The website is divided into different sections –Discover, Learn, Play, Perform, Conduct, and Compose – and each one offers students a different interactive activity to complete. Whether it is popping bubbles to learn about music, answering questions, or practicing their composer skills, this website is sure to engage students in classical music. However, that is not to say that this website cannot be integrated into classroom instruction. To check out some ideas for blending the San Francisco Symphony’s Website for Kids into your classroom, click here.
That’s all for this month’s Roundup. If you would like more information about any of the apps mentioned here or that are on the App Ed Review website, please contact us at Katie@saratogaband.org And remember, classical music is a classic for a reason!