Meet SmartMusic Teacher Jim Jolley

Jim Jolley is a regular contributor on our SmartMusic Forum. He’s had some great success with SmartMusic over the years and generously shares his experiences with others. I recently spoke with Jim about his program and his success with SmartMusic.

James Lund: What instrument do you play, and if you had a chance to, would you pick a different one?

Jim Jolley: I am a trumpet player and I also play some French horn. If I’d had SmartMusic when I first started, I probably would have been a French horn player first.

JL: What is your school’s music program like?

JJ: I teach band at Center Hill Middle School in Olive Branch, Mississippi. Our school has 612 students and one quarter of all students (6-8th grade) are in band. The kids are great and work hard. Most of our beginner band uses SmartMusic and enjoys it. Next year, we are implementing it program-wide.

JL: How has SmartMusic changed your program?

JJ: One of the biggest problems with band is that the grading is subjective and not objective. Parents want to know why their kid isn’t first chair or what can they do for their child. Now with SmartMusic, kids can “see” what they did wrong, listen to how they sound, and make proper corrections without a band director right next to them. The tools provided help greatly with student improvement. After all, isn’t student improvement what we want?

JL: Can you share a recent student success story?

JJ: While teaching summer lessons this year, I showed a student (6th chair out of 7 alto saxes) how to use SmartMusic. Took about 10 minutes and I guided him with what he did well and what he did wrong. I asked him what he thought about it, he said, “Now I see what I did wrong and I can get better quickly. I love this!”

He showed up 10 minutes early for his next lesson, went straight to the practice room computer, and immediately started working. As I finished my other lesson and started with him, he told me to send him more stuff to do. Easiest summer lessons I ever taught and he won’t be 6th chair for long.

I’d like to thank Jim for sharing with us today – and for all his kind help on the SmartMusic Forum.

Have you checked the forum  out yet? Let us know what you think by clicking on “Comments” below!

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