SmartMusic, Practice Reports, and Truthfulness

Have you ever handed your students a piece of paper asking them to document how many minutes they’ve practiced in the week?

In my experience, nothing turns otherwise honest kids to deceit more quickly. I’m talking brazen, bald-faced falsehoods, beneath even the standards of trashy reality TV! I knew it, the kids knew it, but still the system persisted.

But if you’re using SmartMusic 2011, this system can change. Now you can finally measure practice time objectively!

In older versions of SmartMusic, once a student opened a Practice Report assignment, the clock began to run as soon as they opened a piece of music. Admittedly it was a generous method of accounting for student practice time. We heard that it was overly generous for some more enterprising students: Let’s channel some of that creativity back toward music!

The new Practice Report assignments work better. The students’ practice time is stored server-side, so now your students can accrue practice time on any computer running SmartMusic 2011, even if they log some practice time at school and more practice time at home. All they have to do is log in and play music! The time is tracked as soon as they click Start Take and ends when the piece stops. It doesn’t include time spent with the Tuner or the Metronome, just actual time spent playing repertoire.

These changes will cause some students to feel a little humbled by how little time they’re actually playing, so be ready! You can reduce the amount of time you’re requiring, or create a Response Assignment for them to tell you how many minutes of non-SmartMusic practice time they do during the week. I personally recommend the former to help your students get used to the stricter practice time requirements.

We welcome your feedback on this feature as well as any other aspect of SmartMusic 2011 or the gradebook. Leave a comment below, or submit a feature request (or a technical question) directly to the support team at

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