How many times do you explain what an interval is in a year? How often do you introduce and review chords and their inversions? Wouldn’t it be nice to offer a resource for your students that suits your curriculum that can be viewed repeatedly and accessed any time? Ideally, this approach—called a flipped classroom—leads to less lesson time spent introducing a concept and more time reinforcing it.
A flipped classroom is defined as
“a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. Short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, while in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions.”
With today’s tech tools, you can produce your own material or borrow resources from others for your flipped classroom approach….
An app called Book Creator makes it easy for teachers to design customized “lectures” for students to watch at home or during off-bench time at lessons. The app provides a user-friendly platform for creating interactive e-books that feature text, narration, graphics and videos. It’s available for the iPad as well as Android and Windows tablets.
I REALLY enjoy using this app because of its versatility and easy-to-use interface.
With Book Creator, I’ve created two interactive resources that I assign students during Off Bench Time. Off Bench Time, formerly known as “Music Tech Time” or “lab time” in my studio, is a 15-30 minute session added to a private lesson.
Two students arrive together and while one works with me at the piano for 30 minutes, the other completes assignments on the computer, iPad, worksheets, theory books, or listening to repertoire. Virtually anything I can dream up that I’d like my students to complete that may not get done at home is fair game. Then the two students switch.
Understanding Intervals was my first “go” at creating an interactive e-book. In the book, I explain intervals by comparing them to shoes as all intervals are measured by size and quality. It’s ideal for early readers, too, as all text is written as well as read aloud. The e-book is free when you sign up at my blog here.
My second e-book called The Full Scoop on Chords is for sale in the iBooks store and offers instruction on triads, chord symbols, inversions with the help of ice cream. Thanks to Bradley Sowash, it thoroughly covers 7th chords as well. Find it here.
I’ve also had my students create their own books within Book Creator. That’s another blog–boy, was that fun for them!
Dr. Kathy Rabago created a ‘flipped classroom’ online music theory course, covering levels 1-5. As of this post, there are five levels (grades 1-5), and five instructional videos per level. The curriculum follows the Texas MTA music theory curriculum. Right now there are no written worksheets to download although they may be coming in the future. The courses do correspond with the music theory books that also follow the same curriculum called Just the Facts and Theory Time.
Rabago uses the courses by assigning one video every 2-4 weeks for students to watch at home. She then continues to assign music theory homework from their theory book to complete. When they complete the video music theory course and their music theory book, Rabago gives them a practice test to see if they retained the concepts.
To learn more about the courses, follow this link.
An app called Waay from Ten Kettles passed the stringent test of teens in my studio. It’s written for those who want to be songwriters but my piano students enjoy it, too. The app offers instructional videos, drills to reinforce what was discussed and tools to track progress. It is a bargain at $3.99 with more in-app purchase options.
Here’s an interview I held with Alex Andrews the developer of Waay.
If you want to try out the idea of a flipped classroom with your students but aren’t ready to make an investment in materials, take a look at the MusicTheoryGuy YouTube channel. He’s got a strong accent yet a smooth delivery and a vast selection of videos that are perfect for a flipped classroom.
And one more!
I just learned about The Shed. This new music education resource is incredibly organized which makes it easy to navigate to the topic you are looking for. Instruction is offered through videos and PDFs. This is all available for FREE!
Additional resources that offer online instruction and/or theory drills and worksheets
8notesTheory Lessons: http://www.8notes.com/theory/
Piano Safari http://pianosafari.com/videos/