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Pros: Noteflight for Teachers helps teachers and students safely share assignments, musical concept examples, and opinions.
Cons: The extensive options can be confusing at first for novices; student comments offer key feedback, but with no language filter, could get out of hand.
Bottom Line: This useful, well-constructed music composition tool lets classrooms collaborate and comment on student-created songs.
With the Noteflight for Teachers platform, you and your students get access to features from the premium Noteflight Crescendo membership. This allows students to create an unlimited number of pieces with up to 50 instruments, share them with select users, print out individual parts for rehearsal, adjust audio levels on recorded pieces, and annotate scores with colored notes and symbols. You might use Noteflight to distribute theory examples, send and receive assignments, and monitor students' progress on individual or collaborative pieces.
Students can use the cloud-based Noteflight application to write and share music online. Teachers set up and administer a private site and enter a class password and usernames for each student. Students access the site using a special URL and their log-in information. The composition tool makes the writing process fairly simple: Students just need to click on notes or key in their names. Starting with a blank score, kids use toolbar options to adjust time signature, tempo, and key signature, and choose from a wide range of musical symbols. They can add a title and hear the piece played before teachers see it. If students get confused, they can access help videos and user guide links within the composition tool.
Students have to sign up for a completely separate account on the main Noteflight site to create and share songs with the public. When using Noteflight through a teacher account, student compositions won't show up in general searches on the site, and kids won't be able to connect with random strangers who have signed up for a free Noteflight account. In addition, the only forums students can access are class ones for assignments, projects, and general discussions.
Kids put musical skills into practice as they create original compositions. They can change songs in a variety of ways, including transposing them or changing the time signature, and hear the outcome. Forums also provide experience giving and receiving feedback. When using the Noteflight for Teachers platform, communication can be restricted to classmates, which can boost the potential quality of feedback. Students can also customize each composition they create on the classroom site, marking it as private, available only to classroom site members, or shared with specific users. Composers can also let other users comment on or change their work, making Noteflight a great collaboration tool as well.
The only apparent downside: Students will likely get more out of the site if they're already able to read and write music. Classmate and teacher comments provide essentially all feedback for improvement; teachers with large classrooms will need to dedicate considerable time and effort to reviewing student compositions and providing improvement ideas.