Music & Technology

Of the many educational music games out there, some are free online games that kids and adults can enjoy.  Some help with eartraining, some teach about instruments, rhythms and more.

One page I ran across recently was on About.com’s Classics for Kids site, offering 4 simple games, including one to name notes, one to imitate rhythms, another to teach information about the lives and works of composers, and one to allow kids to compose a simple tune.  (Links from this page will lead you to many other music education sites of interest, quite apart from games.)

The New York Philharmonic has some fun and sophisticated music games and learning sites, including a game room with about a dozen games, a chance to compose, learn about instruments, and even make your own.

Less sophisticated but well worth a visit is a Flash Music Games site which offers a large array of ear training games, piano and guitar games.  For example, one ear training game called Noteshooter sounds a note each time a treble clef floats from the bottom of the screen towards the top; the player uses arrow keys to identify the name of the note, by maneuvering the clef so it passes over the right letter.  After you get one note correct (by luck, or by matching the note on an instrument–or if you have perfect pitch!), you can then listen and identify the relative pitches of subsequent notes as they come through.

Another game is called Trichords, a memory game where you match two cards, but in this case, clicking a card plays a triad of some kind, and you have to match the sounds of pairs of triads to win the game.

How you might use these games in working with students is up to you (and perhaps you could add a comment to share with us any suggestions you have for using computer music games in teaching), but games like these are certainly food for thought.

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Thanks to Toby and Tina for comments this week on Collecting the Benjamins (about collecting student payments), and to Steven for comments on last week’s survey of sites connecting students and teachers.  I agree with Steven that ads vary from day to day and place to place, so I have revised one survey listing which was based entirely on ads.  (By the way, I take responsibility for all my own comments in this blog!)

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A very up-to-date downeast Maine minister, whom I interviewed for his daring World War II experiences, introduced me to Audacity–a free music program that can provide some very nice benefits for music teachers.

(Note that Audacity is not at audacity.com; it is at this link, in case you’d like to check it out.  The download is free, and available for Windows, Mac, Linux and other systems.  It is open-source, much like Linux and Mozilla.)

With Audacity, you can record anything your computer can play–from a CD, a website, a microphone, anything–into a sound file of its own, which you can then manipulate in a ridiculous number of ways.

For example, you can slow any portion of the recording down without changing the pitch–great for transcribing tricky passages.  You can also  [···]

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Concerto TableHow would you like to eat your meals around an elegant grand piano-shaped dining room table, that also connects to your iPod and plays music for you throughout the evening?

Sound strange? Maybe so, but it’s called the “Concerto Table”, and is currently going for USD $8,000! The Concerto Table also has a place to store your silverware, and some other interesting features. Personally, I’d rather put the money toward a real piano, but for those who have the money and good place for it, it is kind of sleek.

Read more at http://www.concertotable.com.

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