Website review by Andrea Meyers, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2019

WURRLYedu

Sharp music program has popular music, standards-based curriculum

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Grades
5–12
Subjects & Skills
Arts, Character & SEL

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Pros: The program's focus on well-known music makes it accessible to students. Songs are customizable.

Cons: The catalog should add more common classical songs for students who have their eyes on further formal study of music.

Bottom Line: Since it features a standards-based curriculum and good skills-building for students, this is worth a look for teachers.

WURRLYedu would work well as part of a music class (general, jazz band, modern band, choir, etc.), or even theater when preparing for a musical. WURRLYedu also recommends the program as part of special education and music therapy programs. Teachers should start by introducing students to the program. During these intro sessions, students could play around with the app in class while the teacher makes sure that everyone knows how to record and submit their assignments and how to view their feedback. Afterward, teachers can select the lesson plans and music they want to use, and create assignments. Students complete those assignments, sending back recordings to teachers who can assess student progress (via both feedback and grades).

Assignments can include music creation with audio/video recording or even verbal responses to other musical topics. Beyond assignments, students can create their own personal recordings to share with the teacher or the whole class.

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WURRLYedu is a music education program and app inspired by the popular WURRLY karaoke-style consumer app. The web-based supplemental instructional program offers a platform for teaching music at all grade levels. Teachers and students can choose from an extensive music catalog that models different music styles and provides opportunities to hone skills with songs from well-known popular artists, musicals, and classical works. Built-in lesson plans for every grade level provide support for teaching basic music concepts such as rhythm, pitch, tempo, timbre, harmony, scales, and chords. Video tips help students to understand and apply new skills in vocal exercises, songwriting, and structure, and introduce certain aspects of the music industry. 

Though the app has a particular focus on vocal music, students who play piano, guitar, and ukulele are not left out. Some of the songs include visual chords for accompanying, which helps students learn progressions. Students can reveal the chord chart for the song before beginning practice or recording. On the web-based teacher app, the chords are shown alongside the song in the practice screen.

Lessons are grounded in the National Core Arts Standards, which encompass the four parts of the artistic process: creating; performing, presenting, and producing; responding; and connecting. Each lesson is based on anchors for each process, depending on the lesson objectives. Music teachers who aren't used to using web-based programs will find that the lessons feel familiar and are instructionally sound and accessible. The program is best used as a supplement rather than a replacement for existing curriculum, though. Teachers will need to optimize the use of feedback for student improvement. 

One key advantage of this program over competitors is that the songs are customizable. Teachers and students can choose the background instrument, key, and tempo, matching their preferences and/or vocal range. With the mobile version, students can make their assignment submissions private or public to the whole class. As with any other instructional technology tool, teachers should set some ground rules on appropriate content and interactions among the students, particularly for public submissions that will generate discussion among peers.

One privacy note: The website states that the program is COPPA certified and that students under the age of 13 must have parental consent. In some districts, consent may be required for all age and grade levels. Though consent is often provided by the parent to the school district via signed documentation, schools should still review the privacy policy and terms of use to determine whether or not the policies meet district requirements.

Overall Rating

Engagement

With a large music catalog to choose from, most students will find styles that interest them. The selection is culturally and racially diverse, which makes for an inclusive learning experience.

Pedagogy

The content encompasses many facets of music education, such as general music, history, theory, performance, and music therapy. Lessons are based on the National Core Arts Standards and focus on higher-order thinking skills.

Support

Teachers have access to online support resources such as video tutorials and a FAQ knowledge base. Students can access support via the product website.


Common Sense reviewer
Andrea Meyers Instructional Facilitator of Technology

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