SmartMusic as a Listening Tutor

We’re all familiar with those pesky music literature listening quizzes. Either we administer them, we’ve taken them, or we have one coming up next week. I’m talking about the quizzes in that one class that every music student could skip and learn everything they need to know just by sticking to a strict plan of going to the public library and listening to every possible piece of music. But of course no one sticks to that Good Will Hunting education model. Instead we all groan our way through a course where the professor passes out a list of 100 tunes that the students need to be able to identify during a quiz where only a snippet is played. Of course that quiz is 90% of the final grade. Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe that learning the tunes of great composers who came before us is one of the most important things to learn in music school. It’s just that learning this is a very difficult process to go through.

I just so happen to have had one of these unfortunate music education majors in my living room recently, agonizing over her upcoming quiz in Band Literature class. She was bored of looking up every tune on YouTube and was certain she’d fail another quiz. I suggested she open SmartMusic and follow her instruments’ part as she listened. At least that would be more interesting to look at and she’d probably take more mental notes, which would help during her quiz.

SmartMusic turned out to be the perfect Listening Tutor! SmartMusic had all but two of her required listening tunes in its library (the list was very long I might add).  Additionally, they each were complete with liner notes about the composer and the origin of each piece. 

Want more? SmartMusic has the ability to keep playlists, which allow for music to be sorted into categories. Some categories that could come in handy for said music quiz study time are:

• Time Period

• Fast/slow

• Tonal/dissonant

• Form: Symphony/Sonata

Of course as she listened to each piece, and watched the notes go by onscreen, she couldn’t help but to play her flute to the passages that she thought were sight-readable, and cheer when she received her red/green note assessment score.  She was distracted from her task only by elements that will help her identify each tune on her quiz.

Do you use SmartMusic in a unique way? We’d love to hear about it. Send us a comment right here on this blog and enlighten us on all the creative uses for SmartMusic.


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