Before I begin, let me remind you that my students arrive for lab activities (which include using numerous iPad apps, computer software and more) along with a private lesson every week. Most of my app reviews include tips on how I use the app during the lesson time but also during lab time when appropriate. If you are interested in learning more about this format, you’ll want to read my book (details below) which features more information and the benefits of adding a lab to weekly lessons. On to the review…
My First Classical Music App–has been around for a while, been installed on my iPad and has been waiting for my attention for quite some time.
My First Classical App has immediate appeal because of the
- engaging graphics
- minimal but essential information presented with witty charm
- numerous musical excerpts
- interactive options–a narrator reads all the content–helpful for those younger students with limited reading skills.
Since I prefer students to review the history of music each year, I decided to use this app as it is a terrific tool to provide a broad overview of the classical music world and some major composers. Topics covered include
- When? Where? (where Classical music is found in today’s world)
- People (composers of the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th Century style periods)
- Instruments (strings, winds, the orchestra, voice, etc.)
I was notified by some faithful readers that time was past due for a new Get Inspired! Episode (episodes of videos selected to inspire students of all ages.) A light bulb flashed–why not combine this app with an episode? It turns out I’ve designed three episodes around this one app.
Episode 9 (coming soon)
Romantic and 20th Century
Episode 10 (coming soon)
Each episode has a corresponding “scavenger hunt” worksheet. All the answers can be found on the app.
Prior to watching an episode, my students were given the following assignments (dependent upon their reading capabilities) to complete during lab time:
1) Read a Piano Explorer Magazine article about each time period (as the app is geared towards ages 5 and up, assignments for older students were supplemented with issues of Piano Explorer Magazines, and/or various composer resources on hand.) If you don’t have back issues on which to rely, here’s the schedule for upcoming articles:
- Baroque: September 2013
- Classical: October and November 2013
- Romantic: January and February 2014
- 20th Century: April and May/June 2014
2) Read/listen to the app and find the answers to the Scavenger Hunt worksheets.
3) One more favorite composer resource for older students used with this unit: Fandex Composers.
- Students were assigned to learn about one style period at a time and then watch the correlating videos chosen for that period.
- As many musical excerpts were heard on the app I wanted to add a twist to the Get Inspired! episodes to fully capture the viewer’s attention. You may find the eclectic collection somewhat surprising.
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Leila’s Opinion of My First Classical App: $4.99
Application Potential: 4/5
Some may say the story-book feel and abridged information of the app limits its appeal to mostly younger students; but, being an iPad app, there seems to be an attraction regardless of age.
What you may miss:
- An explanation of the four style periods
- Inclusion of major composers such as Chopin, Copland, Vivaldi…but it is hard to choose from so many!
Ability to Use with Ease: 5/5
Touch anywhere on the screen and information can be gleaned–perfect for those who learn aurally and not just visually.
Assessment of Investment: 4/5
There are plenty of other, more in-depth music history resources–books, magazines, e-books–stay tuned for more ideas in upcoming blogs. My First Classical Music App provides minimal information but serves as a whimsical introduction to Classical music, a few major composers and some masterpieces. It works perfectly for a lab assignment for students of any age (especially when accompanied with my Get Inspired! episodes.) I’d recommend making room for it in your Music History folder on your iDevice. With its broad scope, easy-to-use interactive flair and musical excerpts it’s a bargain.
Total Score: 13/15
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