About a week and a half ago, I went to the TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association) conference as a TI:ME (Technology Institute for Music Educators) leadership scholar. We had several sessions on music technology and its advantageous abilities to open up opportunities to students who may not be interested in traditional ensembles of band, choir, and orchestra. It was an incredible experience, but it left me with the probing question: how can we use technology to further engage students who ARE in the traditional ensembles?
At this ACDA convention yesterday, Dr. Christopher J. Russell presented a workshop entitled, “Integrating Technology into Choral Music” that answered just this. He discussed the SAMR model (substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition) that describes how technology can be integrated in a classroom. He called it a “swimming pool”: where substitution and augmentation are enhancement methods and is considered the “shallow end,” and modification and redefinition is the transformative “deep end.” This session was geared towards the “shallow end,” but it was amazing to learn more about what technology can do to truly benefit both you and your students.
“Integration, not outegration.” This is Dr. Russell’s philosophy for using technology—it shouldn’t be a tool you just save for home. Dr. Russell pointed out that this generation is used to looking at a screen. So if you use a screen to display important information or meaningful activities in your classroom, where are they going to look? The screen!
He gave 8 different applicable strategies to use technology in your chorus. You can look more into detail here. Check out his full website: techinmusiced.com - it has various resources to look at for yourself and see what might work with your choir. I highly encourage it! You can save time and energy with the use of technology to do some work for you.
One fantastic resource Dr. Russell talked about is PhotoScore Ultimate ($250 for Mac/Windows, or NotateMe with a PhotoScore plugin for $70 for iOS/Andriod). You take photos of your score and the program analyzes it to create a digital file. You can make MIDI part tracks, accompaniment tracks, and you can arrange a part (say, if you have changing voices in your middle school choir, but you want to teach them a particular song, you might want to arrange it!). You can have all parts playing but have one part louder than the rest. If you teach band, you can also have the transposed instrumental parts in their sounded key. Furthermore, if you have hand-written music, you can scan it to convert it to a digital score. You can do all this just by simply taking a photo or scanning your score! It can definitely save you a great amount of time.
He also talked about using technology for attendance, audio and written assessments, warm ups, communication, and more… the presentation is online! Check it out for yourself and test out the shallow waters, or if you’re already familiar with these ideas, he has more great resources and material on his website.
-Sunhwa Reiner (Junior, ICACDA President-Elect)
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