Fifty years ago, Albert Einstein warned ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ The ability to solve problems by thinking creatively is more important than knowing how they were solved in the past. Now, in today’s connected classroom, creativity has become the newest transformative tool, the buzzword that indicates a curriculum is on the cutting edge, that teachers are delivering their best to students and differentiating for varied needs.
Art and music have long been considered the doorway to creative thinking. Here are three suggestions that will help you across that threshhold painlessly, even if you aren’t an artist.
I teach technology, so I asked Lawrence Auble, a musician friend I’ve known for years, what he uses for tutoring. His recommendation: Smart Music. It’s one of the 2014 category award winners by School and Band Orchestra magazine and the industry standard for teaching band, string, and vocal of all ages and all skill levels. The app gives subscribers unlimited access to SmartMusic’s extensive library of over 50 method books, nearly 50,000 skill building exercises, and 22,000+ solo and ensemble titles by major publishers.
Here’s how it works:
- Students sign into class and receive materials tailored to their needs by their teacher.
- As the music appears on the screen, students play or sing along with the background accompaniment.
- SmartMusic provides an immediate assessment.
- When satisfied, students send a recording to their teacher who can assess, score, and build a portfolio to track their progress over time.
It is available on PCs and Macs as well as iPads.
Do you want to learn how to play an instrument or sing? Your smartphone or tablet is your gateway to the world of music. There are plenty of apps that can help you get started, and help progress your musical interest and talent. In addition to the apps listed below, you could also find a music teacher to help advance your artistic abilities.
- Google Voice
- Email aliases
- Get Psyched music
Google Voice is a web-based phone service that works through your current phone or your computer. It’s free, and available through a Google account (if you have Gmail, you’re eligible). Incoming calls can be forwarded to your cell or landline (or both) or ring through your computer-based Google Voice account. Voicemails and text messages are transcribed and sent to your Gmail address. Outgoing calls can be made through the website or by calling your handset (smartphone or landline) first, then it calls the number you entered. Here’s what the dashboard looks like (intentionally blurred in spots):
Cognitively, we all agree music, math and education are interwoven. Whether teacher or parent, stakeholders in the college- and career-readiness of students agree that understanding one begets success in the other. And still, in the real world of K-12 education administration, that relationship takes a back seat to politics and oxymorons (don’t get me started). Music programs always seem to be the first excised when budget cuts arrive. I have no idea what should go first, but it sure shouldn’t be music (anyone out there disagree–please share. I’d love to understand this phenonmena)
Here’s a guest post from Sara Stringer with proof and some solutions:
It’s long been accepted that music education helps students become more prepared for a lifetime of learning. New studies now show statistical evidence linking music lessons to measurable gains in focus, discipline, and critical thinking, meaning the connection between music and learning is now stronger than ever.
This year, for example, cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham presented the results of his research indicating that music literally helps children learn to read. Willingham’s study included a chart showing that music lessons “rhythmic skills training, tonal/melodic skills training and auditory discrimination of timbre and sound intensity” improved single word reading accuracy in 159 German first-graders. To test whether it was specifically the music education that was important, or if any arts education would bridge this gap, another group of German first-graders were given additional instruction in visual arts but not in music; their single word reading accuracy did not show the same gains. Willingham’s theory is that the rhythms involved in music help children more quickly understand similar rhythms in written and spoken language, which in turn helps to increase reading accuracy.
Every week, I share a website that inspired my students. Here’s one you may have missed. Starfall is a lot more than reading…
Every Friday, I’ll send you a wonderful website (or more) that my classes and my parents love. I think you’ll find they’ll be a favorite of your students as they are of mine.[caption id="attachment_5632" align="aligncenter" width="611" caption="Click image; click a square to create music--lovely!"][/caption]