Our Success Story: Contest Winners

Our Success Story: A SmartMusic Contest

Our Success Story was a contest created to celebrate the success students are achieving using SmartMusic. To participate, educators were asked to share short essays about their students’ SmartMusic experience. While every entry was inspiring, our judges recognized three teachers with $200 credit at their favorite local sheet music retailer or instrument repair shop.

Today we’d like to introduce our three prize-winning finalists – in alphabetical order – and share excerpts from their winning essays.

Melissa Clark

My favorite feature that I started using a lot this year is the practice analysis. I am able to see how much my students practice with SmartMusic because of this tool. It has really helped each of them individually grow as musicians. When we have a piece on SmartMusic it gets assigned right away so they can start to practice with it. I really like conducting playing tests with SmartMusic. I am able to set up a section of the piece that I want to hear them play.

Sometimes we just play with the My Part feature. I have mixed instrumentation for my middle school orchestra so when I am working on a section the other groups can air bow, body percussion or pluck along. This keeps the student engaged in the lesson while focusing on a specific group. Some of my classes might only have one player for that section so putting SmartMusic on for them helps them not only hear their part but visually see it as well. Many of my students are visual learners so SmartMusic is great for them as well. SmartMusic has really helped each of my students to become better musicians and more prepared for the concerts.

Melissa Clark, String Teacher Grades 4-8, Lawrence Intermediate and Middle Schools, Lawrenceville, New Jersey

Joseph Cooper

“Prior to SmartMusic, my students did not understand what practice really meant. SmartMusic has propelled every single student to perform literature well ahead of their peers.

As a composer/educator it has also been a great tool for our most advanced course, the New Music Ensemble. Students were able to work on difficult passages of newly composed pieces and come back to rehearsal each day more confident. This has been essential in the success of this ensemble since the students do not have any recordings of performances to compare. Now that my students have a tool that helps them practice effectively, they have been inspired to take on more challenges.”

– Joseph Cooper, Music Director, New West Charter, Los Angeles, California

Casey Hounsell

“With the help of SmartMusic, our students have shown immense growth. The play-along features have significantly impacted my student’s rehearsal, solo, and sight-reading skills.

One of the many features that we use is rehearsing with the full band accompaniment. This is especially helpful for one of my classes which has only three students, a trumpet, flute, and trombone player. With this feature, my students are able to hear all the parts of the song. They are able to hear the dynamic changes and stylistic nuances from a professional ensemble and instruments they may not usually hear. I have the option to slow down the song and loop a specific section of the music which allows me to scaffold their learning and differentiate the lesson to fit their needs. Some students struggle following along with the recording so the visual component is extremely helpful as they look at their own part. All these features allow my students to feel more confident in their playing as they listen to musicians on their own instrument playing their part.”

– Casey Hounsell, Music Teacher, Asbury Park High School, Asbury Park, New Jersey

On behalf of the judges and everyone at MakeMusic, we’d like to congratulate the winners and every teacher who entered: thank you for all that you do to enrich the lives of your students!

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