Meet SmartMusic Teacher Ted Scalzo

Ted Scalzo is a veteran teacher of 33 years, having recently completed his 26th year as the band director at Bay Shore High School in Long Island, New York. Ted directs the wind ensemble and jazz band, uses Finale to arrange for the marching band, and teaches music composition/theory, as well as a multimedia course.

Ted is also an enthusiastic support of technology, having recently been appointed to the NYSSMA Music Technology Committee for a second time and is an Apple Distinguished Educator.

The April 2010 issue of School Band and Orchestra included an in-depth article on Ted which highlighted some of the many distinctions his school as received as well as some of the innovative ways Ted has incorporated technology into his program. I spoke to Ted last week specifically about his use of SmartMusic.

Bob Grifa: When did you learn about SmartMusic and why did you choose to have it as part of your curriculum?

Ted Scalzo: I have been following Smart Music from the days of Vivace. Ever since the software-based version became available I have been using it exclusively in my private teaching. I have been using it with my wind ensemble for two years and have also been using it to train the incoming members during our summer music program.

BG: What benefits have you seen (and heard) as a result of using SmartMusic in your program?

TS: There have been several benefits to using Smart Music:

  1. Students are practicing – even with the blazingly busy schedule they all have.
  2. They are listening to music that they may not have listened to the past.
  3. They are engaged and see the purpose in their practicing.
  4. Music that I would normally do in the spring is now being done in the fall and the students are sounding amazing. Students are willing to tackle music that is a challenge and will require their time and attention.
  5. Technical development is more fun – it’s almost like a game.

BG: How do you introduce SmartMusic to your students?

TS: My first introduction is to give each member a disc and set-up sheet. They are all required to install and sign up for the class giving two e-mails; one for themselves and one for their parents. Some of the students receive their training in Smart Music during a five-week summer music program. Others are trained in the fall where I require the students to work with the Smart Music Marching Band Assignments.

BG: How do you use SmartMusic in your program?

TS: Every student has a SmartMusic subscription at home and we have four stations set up in and around the band room for students to complete assignments in school.

I use it daily in the music lessons with the computer we have in the front of the rehearsal room. I also use it daily during rehearsals.

BG: How do you feel about SmartMusic as a high school teacher?

TS: My experience has been extremely positive. I can say I will not teach without it – SmartMusic has changed the game for me and my students.

BG: What type of reaction have the parents given to you in regards to using SmartMusic?

TS: All positive except for one, and in that case the student wouldn’t hand in assignments unless he received a 100. This simply afforded another opportunity to teach a life lesson!

BG: What would you say to a teacher thinking about using SmartMusic in their program?

TS: Just do it! Call me if you have questions or need help.

I’d like to thank Ted for his enthusiasm and support as well as taking the time to share his thoughts with us!

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