How I Use It
I used Smart Music within my chorus classes. I spent a class block having each student create their username and password. For me, this process used up the most time only because I only have the one Smart Music computer in my classroom. This would go by MUCH fast and MUCH smoother if you can secure a computer lab that would allow every student to log into the program and create their profile at the same time. Unfortunately for me, the computer lab was booked when I needed to create the student profiles. The lessons within Smart Music were used for both assessment as well as individual practice. For example, I uploaded warm-ups from the Building Beautiful Voices workbook and allowed students to practice each of the warm-ups in a practice room. For assessment, I would use either sections of choral repertoire that we were working on in class or sometimes scales. For song selections that were not already included in the Smart Music database, I created them using Note Pad (a Finale product) and from there could upload into my student's assignments. My biggest issue was the fact that I did not have a high quality microphone which did affect their recordings. I would suggest that students use either a headset-style mic (for vocalists) or be ever so sure that students are singing DIRECTLY into the mic. Each student should ALWAYS do a mic check before each and every activity.
SmartMusic is a great way to monitor student growth of various musical concepts on an individual basis. I like the fact that the content on SmartMusic relates directly to my curriculum and gives me a means by which I can track how each individual student is progressing on the standards without having to take time in class/rehearsal time to test students individually. It is a wonderful teaching tool if the technology and funding is available to utilize it. As a teacher, if you have an accurate method by which to track how well each student is learning and progressing, it can better lead your instruction. I can go back and listen to each of the recordings at my leisure, and the students have the ability to further practice at home as well. They receive immediate feedback on their singing as it shows on the screen whether they sung the correct notes and rhythms. Students also receive an immediate score that lets them know how well they did.