SmartMusic Feature Friday: Tips from Successful SmartMusic Teachers

Tips from successful teachers

This week’s Feature Friday brings you short video clips with tips from successful SmartMusic teachers as they share their insights during a panel discussion at the 2013 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. Each of these teachers shares tips that can help you use SmartMusic effectively with your students.  Just click on their link to watch.

Mark Corey – Director of Bands, Addison Trail High School, ILMEA State President Elect

Some of the topics discussed in this video:


  • Additional levels of assessment needed for students receiving honors credit in band
  • Using recordings for self-assessment
  • SmartMusic benefits for students that do not take private lessons
  • Using Finale to notate exercises/etudes, and sending as assignments in SmartMusic
  • Students acquire fluency in all 12 major and minor keys with help from SmartMusic
  • SmartMusic is used in the classroom every day for both rehearsal and assessment capabilities

Picture 1 

Link to video: Mark Corey Video (3:34)


Rachel Maxwell – Traughber J. H. S.

In only her second year using SmartMusic, Rachel’s 360-student program is now fully implemented. She talks about the implementation process and how it is improving her student’s music literacy. She also manages to throw a few jokes in along the way.

Some of the topics discussed in this video:


  • Piloting SmartMusic program in year 1, fully implementing in year 2
  • Wanting to improve music literacy, and guide practice outside the classroom
  • Teaching 360 students that have a wide range of ability and learning style
  • How SmartMusic helps beginners track music across the screen
  • Incorporating the subscription into the “band fee”
  • Mostly used as an interactive practice tool in students homes
  • Using SmartMusic assessment when students miss a concert for make-up work
  • Using daily rhythm sets, tuner, practice assignments in class
  • Preparing for tests with SmartMusic
  • Pulling students out of ensemble rehearsal when they need help to practice with SmartMusic
  • Getting one concert cycle ahead in difficulty of music during the first year of full implementation
  • Streamlining in-class testing with the loop feature
  • Having a rocking 6th grade fall concert 

Picture 2

Link to video: Rachel Maxwell (8:19)


Mike Holden – Highcrest Middle School

Although Mike technically is the “youngster” of the group, his use of SmartMusic in the past four years allows him to offer sage SmartMusic tips. Mike uses SmartMusic to give his students more exposure to pieces before they play as an ensemble, allowing him to work on more advanced musical concepts in rehearsal.

In this video, Mike covers:


  • Starting students in sectionals in 5th grade
  • Accompaniments as listening examples
  • Recording and self assessment capabilities
  • Avoiding the assessment tool for the first few months
  • Projecting on screen and asking students to point out musical markings
  • A parent night to show the benefit of using SmartMusic
  • First assignments are just “practice reports”
  • As the teacher, be the SmartMusic expert – there will be questions
  • Giving students a couple weeks to complete assignments
  • Have a few loaner microphones
  • Do SmartMusic “tips of the week” and “pieces of the week” with your students

Picture 3

Link to video: Mike Holden (5:37)


Marty Magnini – Cary Grove Community H.S.

Marty has been using accompaniment technology since the Vivace days, and has many great SmartMusic tips for educators of all experience levels. In this video, Marty talks about how all 160 of his high school students have SmartMusic at home.

Because of this, he is able to:


  • Incorporate SmartMusic in the registration fee
  • Test all scales every semester using the SmartMusic assessment score
  • Listen to every student on all other assignments
  • Make students achieve an 85-90 % on a piece before rehearsing as an ensemble
  • Difference between pieces prepared with SmartMusic to those without is night and day
  • Export excel files and do a mail merge to include additional comments
  • Improve-sight reading and document the progress of every student

Picture 4

Link to video:  Marty Magnini (5:33)

Additional Resources:

We realize that schedules are packed and sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day. Which is why we offer many great resources to help you get answers when you need them!

If you would like to share a SmartMusic tip or best practice with me, please send me a note at [email protected].

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