Technology has produced many creative, educational apps that music educators can use to help their students learn and evolve. According to a recent survey conducted by the research firm, Research and Markets, the U.S. education apps market will grow nearly 30 percent between 2016 and 2020.
As you further your studies in music education with an online Master of Music in music education, the program features digital education solutions that can help educators learn how to merge technology into their classrooms.
When you design a curriculum for music students, incorporating apps could make learning more fun and engaging. Following are a few of the top music education apps that educators can use in the classroom to help their students excel.
GarageBand Offers Familiarity and Diversity
The Pew Research Center’s most recent report reveals that the most common devices in U.S. homes include smartphones, laptops, and tablet computers. Gaming consoles also make the list, and many games have become popular among kids and teens. GarageBand, for instance, is available on gaming consoles, but you can also download an iOS version of the game.
Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children thrive with digital media, gives the GarageBand app an “A+” for educational value. Children who have used the console version might find the app more user-friendly than an unfamiliar program.
According to iTunes, the GarageBand app turns the student’s device into a personal recording studio. Children can arrange their own pieces, learn to play popular music, and select instruments they like.
Students can also use GarageBand to play the drums, practice as a DJ, arrange mixes with up to 32 tracks, and incorporate special mixing effects. For more classical music training, the app lets students try new instruments with their iPads, perform original compositions for their peers, and rearrange compositions with simple swipes. Students who are already familiar with GarageBand on gaming consoles might find the app extension even more engaging.
Music Intervals Introduces Children to Music Theory
Like GarageBand, Music Intervals teaches students music in a dynamic way, but Music Intervals focuses on music theory. According to The Bruce Arnold Foundation, students can use this app on their devices to learn how to recognize and interpret intervals.
Music Intervals is currently only available for Android devices through Google Play. According to its Google Play page, the app includes quizzes and other interactive components to help students advance in music. Educators who use Music Intervals may foster friendly competition by allowing students to take quizzes on the material they have learned, then comparing scores.
Virtuoso Helps Students Track Practice Time
While some apps, such as GarageBand and Music Intervals, focus on teaching music, others serve a more administrative purpose. For instance, Virtuoso allows students to track how much time they spend practicing their instruments or vocals. It compiles the student’s history into statistics so a child can track his progress over time.
Music educators can use free apps like Virtuoso to keep their students on task and to encourage practice outside of class. Virtuoso can also help students keep track of upcoming dates, such as recitals, concerts, and contests.
Currently, Virtuoso only exists for Android devices, but several alternatives are available for iPhones and iPads. Educators who want to use a practice management app might want to look for some of Virtuoso’s most useful features, such as the following:
Ability to name practice sessions and track time spent.
Options to divide practice sessions into smaller increments, such as for practicing arpeggios and recital pieces.
Modules for tracking planned practice time next to actual practice time.
Incredibox Combines Gaming With Musical Composition
While parents and educators might worry about immersing their children further into digital technology, recent studies show that gaming and digital devices could actually have a positive impact on academics. According to an Entertainment Software Association report, more than 70 percent of parents surveyed felt that video games play a positive role in their children’s lives. Many even admitted to playing games with them.
Apps like Incredibox combine gaming with musical education by using gamification to teach children how to compose original pieces. Customers on iTunes rate the app highly for its replay value, educational content, and unique sounds.
According to the official iTunes page for Incredibox, educators already use the app in schools to teach music composition. Students can use their characters to choose arrangements based on their personal preferences, then record their creations and replay them for others. The app also lets students rate their peers’ creations, which could foster competition and encourage students to interact with the app.
Symphony Pro 4 Offers Advanced Music Composition Features
While Incredibox makes music composition fun and easy for younger children, a more advanced app like Symphony Pro 4 might appeal to high school students. The app includes digital sheet music that students can create and share. Students can also import others’ scores and share their own creations.
Educators might use Symphony Pro 4 to help students learn and practice music composition on its own, but they may also find it useful for choir, band, orchestra, and other group activities. Instead of forcing students to carry heavy books full of sheet music, educators can distribute music to students via the app, then practice with their iOS devices.
Music educators might have already begun using digital music education apps in their classrooms, and new options enter the market every year. Educators with advanced degrees in music might enjoy an edge over other educators, especially if they’ve already learned how to leverage digital technologies. Kent State University’s Hugh A. Glauser School of Music offers an online Master of Music in music education degree program that educators can complete online in as few as 23 months. When you get used to using digital technology to educate yourself, you might find it easier to educate others through similar means.